HIDALGO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested a man from Pharr, Texas after a failed child smuggling attempt was thwarted by CBP officers.
“Our officers’ exceptional sense of awareness and outstanding observational skills have enabled us to detect and foil this alleged child smuggling attempt,” said Port Director Efrain Solis Jr., Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “The well-being of children is of utmost concern for us at CBP OFO.”
The incident occurred on March 30, at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge after CBP officers referred a gray 2007 Ford F-150 pickup driven by a 31-year-old male U.S. citizen for a secondary inspection. The man presented U.S. birth certificates for all three of the children that were travelling with him, claiming a three-month-old infant as his own and the other two boys, ages four and five, as his nephews. After further inspection, officers discovered that the five-year-old boy was not related to the adult male in any way and was in fact a citizen and national of Honduras, without any valid documents to legally enter or reside in the United States.
CBP OFO arrested the adult male, who will be incarcerated pending an appearance before a federal U.S. Magistrate, on charges of alleged violation of U.S. immigration law. His infant daughter was released to his grandmother and the four-year-old was released to the true mother; both arrived afterwards at the Hidalgo International Bridge. The five-year-old boy was released to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Refugee Resettlement (HHS-ORR) facility where he will be temporarily housed.
CBP’s Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry is part of the South Texas Campaign, which leverages federal, state and local resources to combat transnational criminal organizations.
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.