Pharr, Texas- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Pharr International Bridge arrested a female from Pharr, Texas on charges of alleged alien smuggling and officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested two male imposters this past weekend.
On June 22, a green Mercury Villager minivan driven by a 36-year-old female United States citizen from Pharr arrived at the Pharr/Reynosa International Bridge. The adult female traveler presented a U.S. passport card for herself and U.S. birth certificates for four minor children that were traveling with her. The vehicle and occupants were referred to secondary for a more thorough examination and further document review. In secondary CBP officers discovered that only three of the children, ages 3, 10 and 12 were biologically related to the female driver and that an 11-year-old male was not a U.S. citizen but rather a Mexican national without documents to enter or reside legally in the United States.
Also over the weekend in two unrelated incidents, CBP officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested a 24-year-old and a 41-year-old, both Mexican nationals from the state of Tamaulipas who allegedly attempted to enter the United States claiming to be United States citizens. The two adult male travelers were determined to be citizens and nationals from Mexico without legal documents to enter or reside in the United States.
The adult female and the two adult male travelers were incarcerated pending appearance before a U.S. Federal Magistrate on criminal charges for violation of U.S. immigration law. The three minor United States children were released to an adult family member and the minor Mexican national boy was released to a U.S. Health and Human Services-Office of Refugee Resettlement facility where he will be temporarily housed.
"Our officers' keen sense of awareness along with excellent observational skills has enabled us to detect and foil this failed child smuggling attempt," said Efrain Solis Jr., port director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. "Through outstanding inspectional techniques, our officers were also able to intercept these two imposters who were attempting to enter our county illegally. CBP takes child smuggling very seriously and we will do everything possible to assure the safety of these innocent children and will also seek the fullest punishment allowable by law for the smugglers."
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.