MCALLEN, Texas – Human smugglers continue to find new ways of getting around border enforcement agents, in South Texas smugglers took to the skies to avoid authorities.
In the city of Harlingen, federal agents at the airport arrested the pilot of a small Mexican airplane, an alleged accomplice and four illegal immigrants as they prepared to fly out to San Marcos which is north of the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints along the main highways leaving the Rio Grande Valley, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas show.
On Monday, Carlos Franco and Hever Marin went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya who formally charged them with one count of alien smuggling.
The arrest came after agents with Homeland Security Investigations had set up surveillance at the airport on Franco’s plane and saw a black Volkswagen driven by Marin pull up to the plane and four persons get into the plane before driving off, court records show.
Agents detained Franco and the four passengers and had other authorities pull over Marin rounding them all up for questioning. During questioning Franco told the agents that he had been paid $3,000 and he had done similar trips in the past. Marin told agents that he had driven illegal immigrants before and had gotten paid $60 in the past.
Marin had picked up the immigrants in McAllen at the city’s mall and driven about 40 miles to Harlingen for the foiled flight.
The case is very similar to an unrelated case where a human smuggler in June 2013 chartered a private plane out of the McAllen airport to fly five immigrants to San Antonio. That case was foiled by Border Patrol agents who conducted an immigration check on the pilot and passengers.