HIDALGO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested a 36-year-old woman from Gainesville, Texas in connection with a failed smuggling attempt of two children from Mexico.
“Our officers’ outstanding ability to detect inconsistencies while interviewing travelers upon arrival from Mexico is how many violations are encountered at our international bridges,” said Acting Port Director Javier Cantu, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “Violations could range from failing to declare merchandise, outstanding arrest warrants, alien or narcotic smuggling to a myriad of other violations.”
The incident occurred on Oct. 12 at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge after a black 2002 Ford F-150 pickup occupied by a woman and three minor children arrived from Mexico was referred for further inspection. A CBP officer referred the vehicle and its occupants for further examination and document review after the woman presented U.S. birth certificates for herself and the children. During the secondary inspection, officers discovered that only the four-year-old female child was the woman’s daughter and a U.S. citizen. Further inspection revealed that the five-year-old girl and four-year-old boy were not acquaintances but were in fact citizens of Mexico without valid documents to legally enter or reside in the United States.
CBP OFO arrested the woman who will be incarcerated pending an appearance before a U.S. federal magistrate on criminal charges for alleged violation of U.S. immigration law. Her U.S. citizen child was released to a family member and the two Mexican citizen children were released to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources-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.