HIDALGO, Texas — Authorities in this border city arrested a Texas man and his Mexican wife in connection with their alleged human smuggling team activities. The woman is also suspected of running a drug distribution point in this border city.
Hidalgo Police and U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 16 illegal immigrants along with suspected human smugglers 35-year-old Juan Carlos Mendez and his 27-year-old Cynthia Mendez. Mrs. Mendez is a legal resident alien from Mexico.
The arrest came after concerned citizens called police to report suspicious activity in Hidalgo. Authorities responded to the area and made two traffic stops almost simultaneously. Mr. Mendez drove a Ford Explorer and his wife a Dodge Charger. Inside both vehicles authorities found a total of 16 illegal immigrants whose clothes were still wet from having just crossed the Rio Grande.
Border Patrol agents arrived and as part of their investigations checked Juan Carlos’ background. Authorities learned that he has multiple arrests that and convictions and most recently he had been arrested at the Falfurrias checkpoint as part of a human smuggling attempt.
During that investigation agents also learned that Mendez’ wife Cynthia had also been arrested in Falfurrias as smuggling illegal immigrants. The woman was already in the radar of law enforcement since court records revealed that she was suspected of smuggling drugs from Mexico and distributing them out of a business in the border city of Hidalgo.
She has not been charged in connection with the drug trafficking activity.
During a subsequent interview with U.S. Border Patrol agents, Juan Carlos Mendez told authorities that he had been contacted by a friend named Chuy in order to have him and his wife pick up a group of illegal immigrants. He said he was to be paid $100 per person he picked up.