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  • Former Cartel Leader Sentenced Play Video

    November 17, 2014 5:37 PM

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - A former top boss for the Gulf Drug Cartel will be spending the next two decades in prison for smuggling drugs into the U.S. A routine traffic stop by Port Isabel police led to the man's arrest. Rafael Cardenas Vela was what is known as... more »
  • Trial Set for Progreso ISD Board Member Play Video

    November 10, 2014 12:13 PM

    PROGRESO - A trial date has been set for a Progreso school board member accused of smuggling drugs. Felix Hernandez, 31, will face a judge on Dec. 1. He was arrested in April, 2013. Texas Department of Public Safety investigators said he was busted carrying about 2,000 pounds... more »
  • Ranchers Worry about Smuggling on Pipeline Road Play Video

    November 5, 2014 6:53 PM

    SULLIVAN CITY - Starr County residents say a pipeline road has become path for smuggling activity. The natural gas pipeline runs through ranchland. A local rancher said he notices a lot of suspicious vehicles near the pipeline road. "You know all the cars that go through here, and... more »
  • Alleged Smuggler Arrested in Pharr Play Video

    October 30, 2014 5:29 PM

    MISSION - A 24-year-old man could be facing serious charges after allegedly leading police on a chase Wednesday. The man crashed his white Chevy Cobalt on Interstate 2 west of the intersection with Interstate 69C in Pharr. Texas Department of Public Safety troopers started the pursuit in Mission. Authorities said... more »
  • Former Deputy Gets 2-Week Reprieve Before Reporting to Prison Play Video

    October 24, 2014 12:49 PM

    McALLEN - Former Hidalgo County sheriff's Deputy Robert Maldonado, scheduled to report to federal prison today, has been given a two-week reprieve. Maldonado was convicted of smuggling at least $40 million in drug cartel money while he worked in law enforcement. A federal judge sentenced Maldonado to 12... more »
  • 3 Fort Hood Soldiers Accused of Smuggling Conspiracy

    October 9, 2014 2:25 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - Authorities arrested three Fort Hood soldiers and an alleged smuggler in connection to a seven-count indictment. They're accused of transporting and harboring illegal aliens. The indictment against them was unsealed after their arrests. Eric Alexander Rodriguez, Brandon Troy Robbins and Christopher David Wix are expected to appear... more »
  • 3 Charged in Fatal Rollover Play Video

    October 6, 2014 4:27 PM

    McALLEN - Three men face federal charges for their part in a fatal rollover. The rollover happened Friday night near La Joya. A 22-year-old Guatemalan woman died in that wreck. Juan Manuel Garcia, Eloy Mendoza Jr. and Jose Lovato Balleza are all charged with alien smuggling. Investigators... more »
  • Brownsville Man Accused of Smuggling Money for Cartel Play Video

    October 3, 2014 10:17 AM

    GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - Federal prosecutors in Mississippi have filed charges against a 28-year-old Texas man they say was found with $1.07 million in Mexican cartel drug money hidden in a SUV he was towing near Pascagoula. The FBI says Luis Miguel Aguilar Guiterrez, of Brownsville, was pulled over... more »
  • 2 Sentenced in Human-Smuggling Case Play Video

    September 24, 2014 5:30 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - The people who packed illegal immigrants into a Brownsville home are behind bars. Rodrigo Gonzalez Alvarez, 22, was sentenced to five years in prison. Rafael de la Cruz Bautista, 29, got five years and four months. The pair held 72 illegal immigrants at a stash house... more »
  • Soldier: Immigrants Hiding in Newly-Purchased Truck Play Video

    September 17, 2014 8:54 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - A soldier accused of human smuggling claims the illegal immigrants were already inside a pickup truck when he bought it in the Rio Grande Valley. The soldier, Eirc Rodriguez, is stationed at Fort Hood. Rodriguez was in court Wednesday for an initial hearing. His mother was... more »
  • Bond Set for Soldier Accused of Smuggling Play Video

    September 17, 2014 4:35 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - A U.S. Army soldier accused of human smuggling will be released on bond. Eric Rodriguez is accused of trying to smuggle two illegal immigrants through the Sarita checkpoint. The immigrants were found behind the front seat of the soldier's pickup truck. Investigators said they were covered by... more »
  • Soldier Accused of Human Smugglng Play Video

    September 16, 2014 8:15 PM

    SARITA - Border Patrol agents arrested a soldier on human-smuggling charges last week at the Sarita checkpoint. Border Patrol agents arrested Eric Rodriguez when they discovered the immigrants in his pickup truck. Officials said the immigrants were hiding under bed sheet and Rodriguez's military jacket. Rodriguez was... more »
  • Alleged Smuggler Arrested at Sarita Checkpoint Play Video

    September 15, 2014 11:02 PM

    SARITA - An alleged human smuggler dressed in military garb tried to get two illegal immigrants through the Sarita checkpoint. Border Patrol agents arrested Eric Rodriguez when they discovered the immigrants on the floorboard of his pickup truck. Officials said the immigrants were hiding under Rodriguez's military jacket.... more »
  • State Officials Release Report on DPS Surge Play Video

    September 12, 2014 8:34 PM

    McALLEN - State officials released new details about the Texas Department of Public Safety surge in the Rio Grande Valley. The report states troopers face threats even when they are not on the clock. It also highlights the growing violence in the region. Crimes never before made public were... more »
  • Father, Son Charged in Marijuana Operation Play Video

    September 10, 2014 7:08 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - A father and son were charged for their alleged role in a sophisticated marijuana plantation found in Willacy County a few weeks ago. The two were charged with possession and intent to distribute more than 9,200 pounds of marijuana. Miguel Echevarria Guizar and Miguel Echevarria Zuniga... more »
  • Former Sheriff Begins Federal Sentence Play Video

    September 9, 2014 4:22 PM

    WESLACO - Former Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino is in federal custody. The Federal Bureau of Prisons on Tuesday confirmed that Trevino reported to a minimum-security prison in Pensacola, Fla. Trevino will begin the 5-year sentence he received for money laundering. His son, Jonathan Trevino, is in federal... more »
  • 2 Smuggling Suspects Arrested in Brownsville Play Video

    September 9, 2014 1:00 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - Two men were charged with smuggling a group of illegal immigrants. Brownsville police said 27-year-old Angel Avalos was driving a gold Chrysler with seven illegal immigrants inside. Benito Loredo, 17, was also a passenger. The car crashed into another vehicle. It happened Friday at the intersection... more »
  • Smugglers Take Advantage of Aerostat's Absence Play Video

    September 3, 2014 10:45 PM

    HIDALGO COUNTY - A spike in illegal activity near Penitas may have been caused by the absence of an aerostat. Border Patrol officials said bad weather forced the grounding of the blimp-like surveillance tool. Penitas Police Chief Roel Bermea said smugglers take advantage of the aerostat's absence. ... more »
  • Mixed Reactions as National Guard Begins Patrols in La Joya Play Video

    September 3, 2014 7:55 PM

    LA JOYA - Residents in La Joya are taking notice of the Texas National Guard troops in the area. The troops' presence is drawing mixed reactions from residents. Some of the residents said they don't feel any more secure, despite the law enforcement surge in the region. "If... more »
  • Memorial Stands at Site of Deadly Smuggling Crash Play Video

    August 26, 2014 8:20 PM

    PALMVIEW - A memorial serves as a reminder of a rollover that claimed the lives of nine illegal immigrants two years ago in Palmview. The deadly rollover ended in the parking lot of a day care center along eastbound Frontage Road between Abram and Goodwin roads. Teresa Cuellar... more »
  • Palmview 9 Suspect to Be Sentenced This Afternoon Play Video

    August 26, 2014 12:45 PM

    EDINBURG - A teen who pleaded guilty in a deadly smuggling attempt will soon learn his sentence. Sentencing for Junior Benjamin Rodriguez is scheduled for this afternoon. In May, the 17-year-old pleaded guilty to nine counts of voluntary manslaughter. Rodriguez was driving a van full of people, when it... more »
  • Aerostat Helps Agents Nab Smuggling Suspects Play Video

    August 18, 2014 5:27 PM

    ROMA - Federal authorities say the new aerostat in Roma helped them track a drug smuggling operation. A Border Patrol agent operating the aerostat spotted three people loading drugs from a shed into a pickup truck Friday. Cameras on the aerostat followed the truck down Highway 83 until agents... more »
  • Aerostat Launched in Roma Play Video

    August 12, 2014 7:45 PM

    ROMA - A new surveillance aerostat now flies in the skies above Roma. Roma residents say they hope the added surveillance will dive smugglers away from the town. "I put these (burglar bars on the) windows here all the way around the house," Roma resident Raul Moreno said.... more »
  • Yturria Ranch to Arm Employees Play Video

    August 12, 2014 7:38 PM

    WILLACY COUNTY - One of the largest ranches in South Texas is planning to arm its employees after several encounters with armed smugglers. Dr. Frank Yturria, 91, said he has never seen so many smugglers trekking through his spread of land as he has seen this summer. The... more »
  • Game Wardens Face Increasing Threats from Smugglers Play Video

    August 11, 2014 8:10 PM

    HIDALGO COUNTY - Game wardens are facing increasing threats from smugglers, officials said. A Texas Parks and Wildlife Department captain said his wardens are attacked and threatened regularly. "Our primary focus is hunting, fishing and water safety," TPWD Capt. James Dunks said. Their focus is shifting. ... more »
  • Chase Startles Los Ebanos Residents Play Video

    August 6, 2014 7:52 PM

    LOS EBANOS - Residents in the small town of Los Ebanos were shocked to see a chase happening in their community. One person is facing charges after Wednesday's chase. The pursuit happened just after 3 p.m. off Heriberto Garza Street. Texas Department of Public Safety troopers confiscated bundles of... more »
  • Game Wardens on Alert for Possible Spike in Crime on Falcon Lake Play Video

    August 1, 2014 6:20 PM

    FALCON LAKE - The surge of state troopers, Border Patrol and National Guard into the Rio Grande Valley has law enforcement in Zapata County preparing for a possible uptick in illegal activity. The question is whether coyotes and smugglers will use Falcon Lake to escape the surge in law... more »
  • Security Improves at Non-24-Hour International Bridges Play Video

    July 30, 2014 10:41 PM

    HIDALGO COUNTY - Smugglers are taking advantage of the cover of night and lax security along the border to move drugs and immigrants north of the Rio Grande. CHANNEL 5 NEWS exposed a weakness at border crossings two years ago. The Los Indios and the Donna international bridges closed... more »
  • Smuggling Impacts Real Estate Along the River Play Video

    July 30, 2014 7:50 PM

    MISSION - Property along the Rio Grande is becoming difficult to sell. One real estate broker said the problem is getting worse. One 450-acre property has been on the market for more than two years. The area, he said, is prime farming land. "The crops here get plenty... more »
  • Rio Grande City Turns Smuggling Path into Bike Trail Play Video

    July 30, 2014 7:48 PM

    STARR COUNTY - Rio Grande City leaders hope a new bike trail will help curb illegal activity. Drug and human smugglers used the trail before it was converted into a recreational area. "The origins of these trails were just that. We would come down here ... you would... more »
  • Police Confiscate Marijuana After Chase Play Video

    July 30, 2014 1:04 PM

    LA GRULLA - A teenager and a man were hurt after their vehicle flipped while fleeing from police. Officers tried to pull over the suspects' 2003 Chevrolet Trail Blazer for a traffic violation Monday afternoon in La Grulla. Police said the driver, a 16-year-old girl, claims the male passenger... more »
  • Police Arrest Smuggling Suspect Play Video

    July 28, 2014 12:47 PM

    LA GRULLA - A suspected gang member is behind bars accused of smuggling immigrants. La Grulla police arrested the 38-year-old suspect after a short chase. Police tried to pull over the suspect when he ignored a stop sign at Frontage Road and Expressway 83. The driver refused to pull... more »
  • Marijuana Seized After High-Speed Chase Play Video

    July 24, 2014 12:55 PM

    HIDALGO COUNTY - Authorities arrested a Mexican national Thursday morning after a high-speed chase near McCook. The chase happened at about 7:45 a.m. on FM 490. A deputy constable tried to pull over the driver of a pickup truck but the suspect sped away. The driver turned south... more »
  • Valley Woman Convicted in Weapons Case Play Video

    July 23, 2014 12:44 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - A Rio Grande Valley woman was found guilty of weapons charges. Yadira Garcia was on trial for falsifying information on a federal document in connection with a straw purchase case. The verdict was handed down late Tuesday in a federal courtroom in Brownsville. Federal prosecutors... more »
  • Valley Residents React to DPS Surge Play Video

    July 17, 2014 7:37 PM

    WESLACO - The Texas Department of Public Safety trooper surge along the Rio Grande Valley has drawn mixed reactions from residents and business owners. The $1.3-million-a-week surge seeks to close gaps in patrols and cut cartel smuggling routes, state officials said. A Progreso Lakes couple said they see... more »
  • Smugglers Operate in Plain Sight Across the River from Roma Play Video

    July 16, 2014 7:32 PM

    ROMA - Smugglers are operating in plain view and during the day along the Mexican side of the Rio Grande across the border from Roma. A CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew watched as the smugglers blew up rafts, took payments and sent men floating across the river. The smugglers... more »
  • Body Found In Smuggling Corridor Play Video

    July 15, 2014 11:18 PM

    MISSION- Police in Mission are investigating a body found just north of the river, Tuesday. Authorities believe the man is in his 30s and most likely an immigrant who crossed the border illegally. The man's body was found near the intersection of Conway and Military Highway. Federal agents say... more »
  • Suspects Use Metal Spikes During Chase Play Video

    July 14, 2014 4:25 PM

    SAN JUAN - Suspects fleeing from authorities used metal spikes in an attempt to avoid capture. The metal spikes, also called caltrops, were used against Border Patrol agents during a weekend chase from Pharr to Weslaco. San Juan police said the spikes are usually seen in areas known... more »
  • Smugglers Allegedly Threatened to Sell Woman to Brothel

    July 14, 2014 12:38 PM

    PENITAS - Police arrested two people for allegedly holding three illegal immigrants against their will in a home in Penitas. The suspects are expected to face federal charges of alien smuggling. They'll face a judge tomorrow for a detention hearing. According to investigators, the two suspects demanded ransom... more »
  • Smugglers Threaten Landowners in Cameron County Play Video

    July 1, 2014 8:07 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - Ranchers along the Rio Grande say immigrant smugglers threaten them constantly. One Cameron County rancher said smugglers ordered him to look the other way or face the consequences. The landowner said smugglers are using trails on his property to bring illegal immigrants into the country. ... more »
  • Startled Horse Leads to Boy's Body Play Video

    June 30, 2014 4:21 PM

    HIDALGO COUNTY - A startled horse led to the discovery of a young illegal immigrant's body earlier this month near La Joya. The 11-year-old boy's body was found less than 100 yards away from several houses and 2 miles from the river. A family who lives nearby raises... more »
  • 2 Arrested After Chase in Mission Play Video

    June 24, 2014 6:13 PM

    MISSION - A driver fleeing from authorities slammed into a building under construction this afternoon in Mission. Construction workers at the building witnessed the end of the chase near the Rio Grande. The men said they saw a Chevrolet Suburban speeding toward them. The workers said the fleeing... more »
  • Suspect Indicted in Gun-Running Case Play Video

    June 18, 2014 8:21 PM

    McALLEN - A federal gun-running investigation spanning several states and several years reached court Wednesday. The case began years ago with the arrest of several middlemen. The suspects tried to buy grenades, 9 mm pistols, AR-15 rifles and other military-grade weapons. They didn't know it at the time that... more »
  • Weslaco Woman Accused of Trying to Smuggle Child Play Video

    June 16, 2014 7:54 PM

    HIDALGO - A Weslaco woman faces federal charges after trying to smuggle a 4-year-old boy across the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge. Court records show that Diana Ramos showed her real son's birth certificate to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Officers asked her if she had photos of her child... more »
  • Chases Become Commonplace in La Joya Play Video

    June 13, 2014 8:50 PM

    LA JOYA - Police are increasing patrols in areas of La Joya where human and drug smuggling is more prevalent. La Joya police said those are the areas where many chases begin. A CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew rode along with a La Joya police officer who has seen... more »
  • Feds Bust Weapons-Smuggling Ring Play Video

    June 10, 2014 7:58 PM

    WESLACO - Department of Homeland Security investigators say they've brought down the leader in a conspiracy to smuggle military-grade weapons into Mexico. The suspects allegedly planned to use those weapons to fight the Mexican military. The conspiracy involved grenades and grenade-launchers, as well as about two-dozen assault rifles... more »
  • Irrigation District Employees See Change in Immigration Trends Play Video

    June 9, 2014 7:45 PM

    HIDALGO COUNTY - Employees of an irrigation district say they have gone from taking gunfire from Mexican drug smugglers to seeing families crossing the Rio Grande only to surrender immediately to Border Patrol. Border Patrol officials said agents detained 3,800 illegal immigrants last week in the Rio Grande Valley. ... more »
  • San Juan Raid Linked to Kentucky Drug Case Play Video

    June 2, 2014 4:13 PM

    SAN JUAN - A raid by federal agents on a home in San Juan last week is linked to an indictment out of Kentucky, officials said. The raid happened in the 300 block of Chaparral Street. FBI and Border Patrol agents conducted the search. A recently unsealed indictment... more »
  • Teenager Faces Felony Charges in Human Smuggling Case Play Video

    May 23, 2014 3:25 PM

    PALMVIEW - A 15-year-old is charged with 15 felonies. He led police on a high-speed chase from Palmview to Donna earlier this week. That teen faced a judge earlier today. The judge sent him to juvenile detention while prosecutors build a case against him. He is now... more »
  • Teen Pleads Guilty in Palmview 9 Case Play Video

    May 19, 2014 12:52 PM

    EDINBURG - A teenager pleaded guilty to a botched smuggling run that killed nine people in Palmview. Junior Benjamin Rodriguez was charged with nine counts of manslaughter. The 17-year-old entered his plea this morning. Rodriguez reached a deal with prosecutors that will keep him from spending the rest... more »
  • Smuggler Wearing Life Vest Bails Out of Vehicle Play Video

    May 16, 2014 12:59 PM

    STARR COUNTY - Investigators said a drug smuggler escaped to Mexico empty-handed. An agent with the Starr County HIDTA task force spotted a group on an inflatable raft on the river around 7 a.m. All four men were in camouflage. Some hid their faces with black ski masks. Investigators... more »
  • 3 Charged in Human-Smuggling Case

    May 6, 2014 11:26 PM

    McALLEN - Three men face charges after federal agents say they held illegal immigrants against their will, threatening to kill them and demanded ransom money from their families. Federal court records list the defendants as Gustavo Hernandez-Castro and Jose Angel Mayorga-Alamo, both of Mexico, and Alfredo Jaime Balli of... more »
  • Several Witnesses to Testify in Ex-Officer's Trial Play Video

    May 2, 2014 1:09 PM

    MCALLEN - Several witnesses will testify a former law enforcement officer regularly smuggled drug money for traffickers. That's according to prosecutors. Robert Ricardo Maldonado is accused of money laundering. Police said they found more than one million dollars in the truck of his car during a traffic stop. Maldonado... more »
  • 2 Suspects in Lopezville Stash House Charged Play Video

    April 18, 2014 5:34 PM

    SAN JUAN - Two people are now facing federal charges after a stash house bust. Authorities found the home in Lopezville on Wednesday. San Juan police and Border Patrol agents responded to the 700 block of Church Street, after an illegal alien escaped from the house to get help.... more »
  • Hidalgo City Crews Install Grates on Drain System Play Video

    April 9, 2014 5:15 PM

    HIDALGO - Crews with the city of Hidalgo and Border Patrol installed a metal grate over a drainage tunnel to keep smugglers out. Officials said the tunnel empties into the Rio Grande and smugglers used it to bring drugs into the United States. Crews also installed grates throughout... more »
  • Homeland Security Agents Posed as Illegal Immigrants for Smuggling Bust

    March 28, 2014 4:16 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - Six people face alien smuggling charges, after authorities found a stash house in Brownsville with 72 illegal immigrants yesterday. Court documents show the house is on Coral Court. Homeland Security agents said they recovered a cell phone left at the house and then went undercover posing as... more »
  • La Joya Police Chief Vows to Curb Teen Crime Play Video

    March 19, 2014 10:56 PM

    LA JOYA - The new police chief for the city of La Joya is vowing to reverse a troubling trend. Chief Geovani Hernandez said his goal is to lower the number of teen felons coming out of La Joya. The statements come after a 16-year-old was arrested this... more »
  • Penitas Police Report Fewer Chases Play Video

    March 17, 2014 10:38 PM

    PENITAS - Police are using technology and training to limit the number of high-speed chases in western Hidalgo County, officials said. A chase on Monday sent eight illegal immigrants to area hospitals. The chase, however, is the exception and no longer the norm, Penitas Police Chief Roel Bermea said.... more »
  • Suspected Zeta Leader Goes Before Judge Play Video

    March 6, 2014 7:41 PM

    McALLEN - An alleged top Zeta cartel leader went before a federal judge Thursday in McAllen. Ivan Caballero Velazquez, also known as El Taliban, was in court for a status hearing. He is expected back in court next month. Caballero faces conspiracy charges stemming from his alleged involvement... more »
  • 3 Sentenced in Human Smuggling Case Play Video

    February 26, 2014 3:17 PM

    MCALLEN - A judge sentenced three people convicted of smuggling illegal immigrants. The sentences for Ivan Cabrera, Michael Ayala and Maria Isabel Rivera-Castillo were enhanced, when the court took into consideration reports that they beat and threatened the illegal immigrants with physical and sexual violence. Investigators said the three... more »
  • The Writing on the Walls Play Video

    February 13, 2014 10:39 PM

    WESLACO - The stories of countless immigrants are being chronicled in unlikely places. People are scribbling warnings and tips on the walls of stash houses. A stash house north of Mission yielded proof of the trend. Federal agents raided the structure nearly a year ago. The property was left... more »
  • Officials Worry About Pollution from Splashdowns Play Video

    February 12, 2014 7:29 PM

    RIO GRANDE CITY - Starr County officials are concerned about an increase in the number of splashdowns and the contamination risks those vehicles pose for the Rio Grande. Texas Department of Public Safety divers on Tuesday helped pull a pickup truck from the river near the community of La... more »
  • School Official: La Joya Fertile Ground for Young Smugglers Play Video

    January 8, 2014 10:47 PM

    EDINBURG - A 16-year-old arrested last month after a chase in Mission is the most recent La Joya school district student to face human smuggling charges. Seven La Joya Independent School District students have been arrested since 2012 on human smuggling charges. Two others have been linked smuggling cases.... more »
  • Smuggling Suspect Arrested South of Weslaco Play Video

    December 23, 2013 4:13 PM

    WESLACO - A suspected drug smuggler is facing federal charges after he crashed Saturday night south of Weslaco. Border Patrol agents were driving next to the suspect when he lost control and crashed. The agents found 1,100 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle. The case was turned over... more »
  • Smuggling Suspect Charged Play Video

    December 16, 2013 5:13 PM

    EDINBURG - A 28-year-old smuggling suspect was charged with evading arrest after he allegedly led authorities on a chase. Deputies said Jesus Enrique Luna was behind the wheel of a van loaded with illegal immigrants when it flipped Thursday near Edinburg. Officials said Luna fled when officers tried to... more »
  • Police: Smugglers Use UTB Campus to Move Drugs Play Video

    December 5, 2013 10:20 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - University of Texas at Brownsville students say they are concerned about having their campus turned into a smuggling corridor. Juan Jimenez said he wasn't aware drugs were being smuggled through campus. Authorities said two men were seen two weeks ago walking through with two duffle bags and... more »
  • Prosecutors Charge 2 in Cocaine Case Play Video

    November 25, 2013 5:09 PM

    BROOKS COUNTY - Federal prosecutors charged two men in connection with a cocaine case involving a norteño band. Texas Department of Public Safety troopers discovered 632 pounds of cocaine stashed in Grupo Zinzzero's tour bus in Falfurrias. They arrested eight men. The driver, Cesar Rodriguez Hernandez, and Juan... more »
  • 2 Arrested, Charged with Gun Smuggling Play Video

    November 8, 2013 12:31 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - Two men are facing gun smuggling charges in the Lower Valley. A federal judge arraigned Cruz Moises Garcia and Julio Solis Castilleja earlier this week. Authorities arrested Solis as he was crossing the Gateway International Bridge into Mexico. They said he had four high-power rifles, an assault... more »
  • Woman Arraigned in Child Abandonment Case Play Video

    November 7, 2013 12:33 PM

    LOS FRESNOS - A Los Fresnos woman was arraigned in a child abandonment case Thursday. Maria Lourdes Preza appeared in Los Fresnos Municipal Court. Her bond was set at $50,000, but there is an immigration hold on her, so she won't be able to get out of jail soon. ... more »
  • Police Arrest Child Smuggler in Los Fresnos Play Video

    November 6, 2013 4:17 PM

    LOS FRESNOS - Police investigators said they broke up a child smuggling ring on Wednesday. The bust happened after authorities found a Salvadoran child wandering on a Los Fresnos street. Police said the child was supposed to be smuggled to New York. Police arrested one person and took... more »
  • Hidalgo County to Seize Accused Smuggler's Property Play Video

    November 4, 2013 8:46 PM

    EDINBURG - Hidalgo County may benefit from a drug case in Georgia. DA investigators said the suspect in the case, Raul Prado, smuggled drugs through the Rio Grande Valley. Authorities seized several boats, real estate properties and an airplane. The aircraft is set to go on auction in two... more »
  • Four Charged in Human Smuggling Ring

    October 20, 2013 11:04 PM

    ALAMO - Four people were charged in connection to a Rio Grande Valley human smuggling operation. Court documents show the group held 56 illegal immigrants at a home in the 400 block of Cameo Circle in Alamo. Federal investigators found 11 more undocumented illegals at a motel in... more »
  • Police Departments in Western Hidalgo County Expect Increase in Smuggling Activity Play Video

    October 10, 2013 8:06 PM

    McALLEN - Some Rio Grande Valley police officials expect a spike in smuggling activity in the region after state troopers stopped setting up improvised checkpoints. Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and local authorities set up the checkpoints for three weeks. State officials said the initiative was aimed at... more »
  • Certification Hearing Set for Teen Accused in Deadly Smuggling Attempt Play Video

    October 8, 2013 7:41 PM

    EDINBURG - A teenager accused in a deadly human smuggling attempt may soon find out if he will be tried as a juvenile or an adult. Texas Department of Public Safety officials said the teenager was behind the wheel of a truck loaded with illegal immigrants when he fled... more »
  • Teen Could Be Tried as Adult in Deadly Smuggling Attempt Play Video

    September 10, 2013 4:28 PM

    EDINBURG - A judge will decide if a 15-year-old stands trial as an adult for his alleged role in a deadly high-speed chase. The teenage driver was arrested last year after fleeing a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter that fired on his truck killing two Guatemalan immigrants hiding... more »
  • Furniture Store Owner Sentenced in Federal Drug Case Play Video

    August 20, 2013 4:24 PM

    McALLEN - A McAllen furniture store owner has been sentenced in a drug smuggling operation. Jose Francisco Serna will serve eight years in prison. He was found guilty of smuggling cocaine to places as far away as Georgia. Court records show Serna started smuggling drugs as a side... more »
  • Teen Held in Smuggling Case Play Video

    August 9, 2013 4:07 PM

    EDINBURG - A 15-year-old implicated in deadly human smuggling operation will be in detention for at least two weeks before his next hearing. The teen was arrested and released twice after the smuggling attempt. The teen was behind the wheel of a Ford F150 fleeing from authorities, officials said.... more »
  • Men Accused Of Drug Smuggling In Starr County

    August 9, 2013 2:49 PM

    RIO GRANDE CITY - Federal agents arrested three men on smuggling charges in Starr County. The incident happened at around 9 a.m. Thursday near Garceno. Border Patrol agents said they saw men crossing the river on a raft. Agents called in a helicopter and located 20 sugar sacks containing... more »
  • Truck Drivers Claim Drug Loads Moved for Weslaco Businessman Play Video

    August 8, 2013 1:03 PM

    WESLACO - Truck drivers claimed they moved loads of marijuana and cocaine for a Weslaco businessman. That's according to the recently unsealed court case against accused drug smuggler Tomas Gonzalez. The loads ranged from 100 pounds to 7,000 pounds. The drivers described drug loads as far back as 2007.... more »
  • Court Records Detail Elaborate Drug Escort Scheme Play Video

    August 6, 2013 7:41 PM

    McALLEN - Federal court records reveal how former lawmen escorted drug loads throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Federal agents organized operations to gather evidence against nine then-lawmen. Federal officials said the men accepted thousands of dollars in bribes to escort and protect cocaine shipments. Federal investigators said... more »
  • San Antonio Siblings Sentenced, Accused of Working for Zetas

    August 1, 2013 10:24 AM

    SAN ANTONIO - A San Antonio woman who the federal government said worked for the Zetas cartel will spend more than five years in prison. Her brother was sentenced to four years. Prosecutors say the duo helped smuggle as many as 200 people into the U.S. for the Zetas. April... more »
  • Man Sentenced for Trying to Smuggle Meth in Shampoo Bottle Play Video

    July 24, 2013 8:58 AM

    CORPUS CHRISTI - A Rio Grande City man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for trying to smuggle methamphetamine across the border in a shampoo bottle. Guerra-Ruiz pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Border Patrol agents arrested the 34-year-old at the Sarita checkpoint in February. He... more »
  • Woman Expected to Plead Guilty in Smuggling Case Play Video

    July 15, 2013 5:25 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - A woman accused of smuggling methamphetamines is expected to plead guilty during a hearing Tuesday, federal officials said. Carolyn Perez was charged in the smuggling case after she and Yazmin Enriquez tried to smuggle the narcotics at Gateway International Bridge, officials said. The arrests happened in... more »
  • Human Smuggler Who Used Craigslist to Hire Drivers Sentenced to Prison Play Video

    July 15, 2013 4:25 PM

    McALLEN - A man who used Craigslist postings to hire smugglers has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison. Jose Gustavo Velasquez confessed to posting help-wanted ads looking for drivers to help him smuggle illegal immigrants through the Rio Grande Valley, court records show. Homeland Security Investigation... more »
  • Police: Drug Smugglers Cut Storm Drain Gate Play Video

    July 12, 2013 7:35 PM

    HIDALGO - Police are keeping a close eye on the storm drain tunnels running under Hidalgo. Smugglers cut through an iron gate covering one of the drains. Border Patrol agents found the opening this week next to the river. The tunnel runs under the border wall and leads to... more »
  • Convicted Drug Trafficker Awaits Sentence Play Video

    July 10, 2013 3:47 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - A convicted drug trafficker will be sentenced in October for his role in a smuggling operation, officials said. Mario Alberto Villanueva Balderas pleaded guilty to the smuggling charges Tuesday in a federal courtroom in Brownsville. He admitted to helping smuggle 235 pounds of marijuana onto South Padre... more »
  • Sheriff: Smugglers Using New Tactics Play Video

    June 28, 2013 4:19 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - Cameron County sheriff's investigators say they have uncovered a new trend in drug smuggling. The said smugglers are turning to construction equipment to hide their loads. The statement comes after deputies pulled over a tractor-trailer hauling a forklift on Highway 77 in Combes. The incident happened on... more »
  • Judge Orders Convicted Trafficker to Pay Hefty Fine Play Video

    June 27, 2013 4:21 PM

    BROWNSVILLE - A federal judge on Wednesday ordered a convicted Mexican cartel leader to pay a $20-million fine. Juan Roberto Rincon was sentenced to life in prison last month on drug trafficking charges. Prosecutors said he was a plaza boss for the Gulf cartel. The judge assessed the... more »
  • CBP Officers Seize Cocaine, Meth at Pharr Bridge

    June 27, 2013 12:27 PM

    PHARR - CPB officers said an 18-year-old woman tried to smuggle cocaine and methamphetamine, while driving into the United States. She tried crossing the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge Wednesday morning. Officers referred her to a secondary inspection. That's where they found packages hidden with the vehicle's rear bumper. Officers seized... more »
  • Smuggling on the Rise in Falcon Lake Play Video

    June 25, 2013 9:39 PM

    ZAPATA - Texas game wardens say drug smugglers are using Falcon Lake and fishing to get their loads north of the international boundary. Officials said smugglers cast nets into the water in an effort to disable patrol boats. They said Mexican nationals are poaching and running tons of drugs... more »
  • Funding Cuts Result in Fewer Smuggler Prosecutions Play Video

    June 19, 2013 4:30 PM

    BROOKS COUNTY - Some drug smugglers are losing their loads to authorities, but they are not facing prosecution. The problem is being blamed on a break in cooperation between local and federal prosecutors. The Border Prosecution Initiative is at the root of the problems, officials said. The initiative reimburses... more »
  • Border Patrol Document Outlines Drastic Cuts Play Video

    June 13, 2013 7:18 PM

    McALLEN - Border Patrol agents assigned to the region are being told to scale back their operations, according to a document obtained by CHANNEL 5 NEWS. The agency admits they will have security gaps that may lead to an increase in illegal activity throughout the region. The document,... more »
  • Smuggling Suspect Tries to Hide in Beauty Salon Play Video

    June 12, 2013 10:24 PM

    LA GRULLA - Clients at a beauty salon were terrified Wednesday when an alleged drug smuggler tried to hide among them to avoid authorities. The suspect was fleeing from police when he pulled into the parking lot of the beauty salon just after 5 p.m. in La Grulla. ... more »
  • 2 Human Smuggling Suspects in Custody

    June 5, 2013 10:24 AM

    BROWNSVILLE - Two people were charged in a Lower Valley federal court after 63 undocumented immigrants were found at a house in Brownsville on Monday. According to court documents, several immigrants ran out the back door when Border Patrol agents entered the house on the 300 block of Catherine Lane,... more »
  • Alleged Smuggler Arrested in Mission Play Video

    May 30, 2013 8:21 PM

    MISSION - A man accused of leading police on a chase through Mission may soon be in the custody of immigration officers. Mission police charged Raul Andres Jimenez, 31, with possession of marijuana and evading arrest. Investigators said Jimenez refused to stop for officers Tuesday night. He allegedly... more »
  • Smuggling a Growing Burden for Hidalgo County Constable Play Video

    May 30, 2013 8:19 PM

    EDINBURG - Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Constable Eddie Guerra says his department is caught in the middle of a smuggling corridor along Highway 281. Guerra said his department has seized countless vehicles used in smuggling attempts. "Ninety percent of them are involved in human smuggling. For our little... more »
  • Teen Charged in Smuggling Attempt Play Video

    May 24, 2013 7:12 PM

    EDINBURG - A teenager arrested after a smuggling attempt Monday in Hidalgo County was likely a guide, officials said. The teen was charged with human smuggling on Friday. The charges stem from the smuggling operation that ended in a wreck in Mission, officials said. Several people were injured in... more »
  • Officials Report Increase in Smuggling in Starr County Play Video

    April 22, 2013 8:16 PM

    RIO GRANDE CITY - Smugglers are moving through Starr County at an alarming rate, local officials said. Starr County sheriff's deputies said smugglers are using vehicles taken from other counties in the Rio Grande Valley. Deputy Sheriff Esmer Muniz said 80 percent of the vehicles seized in smuggling... more »

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