MATAMOROS, TAMULIPAS.- Failure to stop at a traffic light led to the arrest of a 36-year-old Brownsville woman for harboring undocumented immigrants at a home for financial gain, according to a federal criminal complaint.
Esmeralda Garcia appeared Monday before U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez Jr., who sentenced her to 18 months in the federal bureau of prisons to be followed by two years of supervised release.
According to federal court documents, Garcia entered a cold plea to a charge of harboring an undocumented immigrant for commercial advantage or private gain on May 26.
According to an April 13 federal criminal complaint, U.S. Border Patrol agents, Homeland Security Investigation agents, and Cameron County Precinct 2 Constables were monitoring a home in the Southmost area of Brownsville for possible undocumented immigrant smuggling.
Garcia was spotted driving from a residence in the Southmost area, with Border Patrol agents conducting “mobile surveillance” on the Chevrolet Tahoe she was driving. Garcia was followed to an intersection at Southmost Boulevard and 26th Street, where she failed to stop at a traffic light, the federal criminal complaint reads.
Cameron County deputy constables stopped the Tahoe and Garcia, who was identified as the driver, said she was a U.S. citizen. A passenger in the SUV told the officers he was a citizen of Mexico and did not have permission to be in the U.S.
According to the federal criminal complaint, agents asked Garcia if she had other undocumented immigrants at the home and she said yes. She gave the agents consent to search the home, where they found four more undocumented immigrants. Three were from Mexico and one was from Colombia, and all stated they didn’t have permission to be in the U.S.
After a further investigation and in a sworn statement Garcia admitted she was harboring the undocumented immigrants for financial gain, the federal criminal complaint states.
Source: El Vigia