Brownsville, Texas-U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Brownsville, Texas port of entry arrested a woman from Brownsville on child smuggling allegations.
The incident occurred at the Brownsville International Bridge during the late evening hours on Dec. 1 when CBP officers encountered a black 2003 Ford Mustang driven by a 38-year-old female U.S. citizen from Brownsville. The adult female traveler presented U.S. birth certificates for herself and for three minor females, who she claimed were her nieces.
A CBP officer referred the vehicle to secondary for a more thorough inspection and further document review. In secondary officers discovered that the three minor girls were not related to the adult female but were in fact citizens from El Salvador without valid documents to legally enter or reside in the U.S.
The adult female traveler was incarcerated pending appearance before a federal magistrate on criminal charges for alleged violation of U.S. immigration law. The three minor female children, two sisters, ages seven and eight, and a cousin, age seven, were released to a U.S. Health and Human Services-Office of Refugee Resettlement facility where they'll be temporarily housed.
"Our officers have detected this failed child smuggling attempt and have kept these children out of possible harms way," said Michael Freeman, Brownsville port director. "CBP will not tolerate the smuggling of persons, especially children and we will arrest those violators involved in these type of activities."
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.