A routine migrant smuggling case thwarted by the Border Patrol at a Laredo Sector Highway Checkpoint on Interstate 35 resulted in the arrest of Ingrid Morales-Rodriguez, a Mexican national over the past weekend. Agents discovered she had been convicted of accessory to commit 2nd degree murder in North Carolina in 2015. Rodriguez’ prior case involved two high-profile murders at the time.
Border Patrol agents first encountered Rodriguez on the evening of June 4, when the 32-year-old female was found hiding in the trunk of a car. A Border Patrol K-9 alerted agents to Rodriguez’ presence during an open-air sniff search. Criminal record checks on Rodriguez revealed a prior arrest and 2017 felony conviction for 2nd degree accessory to commit murder in Chatham County, North Carolina.
Rodriguez was sentenced to 75 to 102 months confinement for the accessory to commit murder conviction. Police believed Rodriguez and an accomplice murdered a man wanted in connection to another murder in Siler City, North Carolina, in 2015.
According to a local news report, Morales’ brush with the law began with the discovery of unidentified human remains in Liberty, North Carolina, in 2015. The remains were identified as Francisco Rivas-Galves, a 21-year-old male who had been reported missing six days earlier. At the time Galves went missing, he was named as a suspect in the disappearance and murder of Esau Abraham Brenes of Siler City.
The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations looking into the death of Galves began to focus on two individuals, Ingrid Morales Rodriguez, a Mexican national, and Salvadoran Miguel Angel Munoz who were last seen with Galves on the night he went missing. Based on evidence collected, police theorized Munoz had shot Galves inside a vehicle where Rodriguez was a passenger and they disposed of the body near a rural road.
In May 2016, Ingrid Rodriguez and Miguel Angel Munoz were charged with the murder of Galves. In December 2017, Miguel Angel Munoz pled guilty to 2nd degree murder and Ingrid Rodriguez pled guilty to accessory to commit 2nd degree murder. Munoz was sentenced to 200-252 months. Ingrid Morales-Rodriguez deported to Mexico after completing her prison sentence.
At the time of the discovery of Galves’ remains, one Siler City family was seeking justice for the murder of family member Esau Abraham Brenes. Brenes had gone missing on October 3, 2015, after stopping to give a ride to three people in Siler City. Brenes’ remains were discovered three weeks later. Police determined that Brenes had been robbed, beaten, and shot to death by Galves.
Galves would go missing on the same day Brenes’ remains were discovered. Police arrested Arnold Jaramillo Lopez a 16-year-old accomplice of Galves, as a second suspect in the case. Jaramillo later pled guilty for his role in the Brenes murder and was sentenced to 24 to 31 years in prison.
The return of Rodriguez to the United States is a recent example serious criminal migrants apprehended by Border Patrol. Since June 1, Border Patrol agents have arrested four migrants, including Rodriguez, who have prior domestic convictions for manslaughter and murder.
A total of six migrants who are registered sex offenders were also arrested by Border Patrol in the same time frame. Their crimes included convictions for rape, sexual battery of a child, and lewd/lascivious acts with a child.
On Wednesday, Border Patrol agents in Yuma, Arizona, arrested a Jamaican national wanted for murder in College Point, New York. On the same day, a twice-deported Mexican national was arrested and found to have served seven years in prison for the 2008 attempted murder of a peace officer in California.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.