EL PASO, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents stopped a human smuggling attempt on January 20, 2021. The subsequent investigation connected a couple in that case to a one-year-old child who was smuggled through the El Paso Port of Entry earlier in the week.
U.S. Border Patrol agents from the El Paso station identified a human smuggling scheme near the El Paso International Airport January 20. They encountered four people from Ecuador with fraudulent documents attempting to board flights departing El Paso.
During the interview process, agents learned that days prior, two of the four individuals had secured a smuggler to cross their one-year-old daughter separately through the El Paso port of entry but were unaware of the whereabouts of their child. Border Patrol agents immediately began coordination efforts by reaching out to other agencies and ultimately located the child.
Agents learned that the child was encountered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Paso Del Norte crossing. She was being transported across the border by a 17-year-old U.S. female citizen who presented fraudulent documents for the child. The child was turned over to Health and Human Services. Prosecution on the smuggler was deferred.
“This serves as an example of the coordinated tactics human smugglers use to exploit human beings. It’s a frequent reality at the border that many do not witness,” said Gloria I. Chavez, El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent. “I am extremely proud of the determination displayed by agents in helping to reunite this one-year-old child with her family.”
It is important to note that an arrest or criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered evidence of guilt. Subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens are encouraged to report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol while remaining anonymous by calling 1-800-6352509.