HSI Identifies Fraudulent Family Unit
Del RIO, Texas – Border Patrol agents assigned to the Uvalde Station cared for a smuggled toddler over the course of nearly 24 hours after Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents recovered the child from two unrelated individuals identified as a fraudulent family unit, Sept. 23.
“Of all the people that smugglers exploit, children are the most vulnerable,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz. “Thanks to the cooperative efforts between HSI and Border Patrol, this child was removed from a dangerous situation and properly cared for.”
Early this week HSI special agents identified a smuggling case involving a false family claim in which two individuals were taken into custody for attempting to smuggle a small child. During the course of the investigation, HSI determined the smugglers had no relation to the child. The Uvalde Border Patrol Station, being better suited to care for the child overnight, assisted HSI by assuming custody. Agents personally cared for the toddler over the course of three shifts. After nearly 24 hours, the child was placed in the custody of Health and Human Services.
“HSI’s message is clear – our priority is to protect the children.” said Shane Folden, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Antonio. “HSI will continue to partner with the Border Patrol to identify and dismantle the criminal organizations using fraud to smuggle children.”
At this time the child’s family has not been identified. The two smugglers are being held pending charges by HSI.