HIDALGO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested a 19-year-old woman from Mission, Texas in connection with a failed child smuggling attempt of an 11-year-old from Mexico.
“Our officers’ acute sense of awareness and the ability to detect anomalies within a traveler’s verbal and non-verbal actions is how smuggling cases are thwarted and those involved are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Acting Port Director Javier Cantu, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry.
On Oct. 26, a woman accompanied by a minor girl arrived at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge pedestrian walkway. The woman presented U.S. birth certificates for herself and for the little girl, whom she claimed as an acquaintance and also presented a notarized letter from the alleged mother, giving her permission to travel with the child. After further inspection in secondary, officers discovered that this was an alleged smuggling attempt and that the child was not a U.S. citizen but rather a citizen from Mexico without valid documents to legally enter or reside in the United States.
CBP OFO arrested the adult woman who is being detained pending an appearance before a U.S. federal magistrate on criminal charges of alleged violation of U.S. immigration law. The minor girl will be housed at a Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (HHS-ORR) facility.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.