HIDALGO, TEXAS—Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested a woman from Brenham, Texas who allegedly attempted to smuggle a four-year-old female child into the United States.
The incident occurred on Monday morning, May 27 when CBP officers working at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge encountered a brown Ford F-150 pickup driven by a 39-year-old female United States citizen accompanied by two minor children. The adult female presented a U.S. passport for herself and two U.S. birth certificates, one for a 15-year-old male and another for a four-year-old girl. A CBP officer referred them to secondary for further inspection and documents review and it was there that the adult female claimed that the boy was her son and that the small girl was her niece. After further questioning officers discovered that the little girl was not related to the adult female but was in fact a citizen from Honduras without valid documents to legally enter or reside in the United States.
CBP arrested the adult female and she was incarcerated pending appearance before a U.S. Federal Magistrate on criminal charges for alleged violation of U.S. immigration law. The Honduran female child was released to a Human Health Services Office of Resettlement (HSS-ORR) facility where she'll be temporarily housed. The minor U.S. citizen male was released to a family member who was contacted and arrived at the international bridge.
"Our officers have detected this failed child smuggling attempt due to great inspection techniques and the exceptional ability to detect irregularities," said Efrain Solis Jr., port director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. "The safety of persons, especially minor children is of utmost importance to CBP and those involved in these illicit activities will face the consequences."
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.