HOUSTON, Texas — A smuggler attempting to take a 3-year-old girl from Mexico to her mother in the U.S. allegedly drugged the child.
Authorities caught the smuggler, 24-year-old Maria Guadalupe Gutierrez, as she attempted to cross the Pharr International Bridge on the Texas-Mexico border, according to Action4 News. Gutierrez and the child were in a taxi at the time.
While going through the check point, Gutierrez gave U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities a U.S. passport with her information on it, as well as a birth certificate for the girl in the car. The birth certificate reportedly stated that the child was from Edinburg, Texas.
Gutierrez told officers that the girl, who appeared to be sleeping, was her friend’s daughter. Officers became suspicious when they told Gutierrez to wake up the toddler, and she was unresponsive. It was at this point that officers referred the pair for secondary inspection, according to Action4 News.
It was then that Gutierrez reportedly admitted the child was not a citizen of the United States — rather, she was from Jalisco, Mexico.
Before long, the child’s mother, Elida Alvarz-Ortiz, reportedly showed up at the port looking for her daughter. She admitted that Gutierrez was her friend, and that she had provided her with the fake birth certificate.
Action4 News reported that Gutierrez had given the child five milliliters of Oxcarbazepin to make her sleep. Oxcarbazepin is used to treat seizures and epilepsy.
The girl received medical care, and then was taken back to Mexico with her mother.
Gutierrez will go before a judge to face smuggling charges.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.