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Escobares police: Roma city employee arrested for smuggling migrants in city vehicle

Escobares police: Roma city employee arrested for smuggling migrants in city vehicle
5 months 3 weeks 5 days ago Wednesday, January 17 2024 Jan 17, 2024 January 17, 2024 2:46 PM January 17, 2024 in News - Local

An employee with the city of Roma was arrested after transporting migrants with a city vehicle, according to Escobares police Chief Pedro Estrada.

Raul Gonzalez was arrested at around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday by Border Patrol. Gonzalez is employed by the city as a water meter reader with the Public Works Department.

"We wish to make it unequivocally clear that the City of Roma does not condone any form of illegal activity by its employees. We have granted full cooperation to law enforcement authorities to conduct a comprehensive investigation into this matter. Our primary concern is to ensure that justice is served, and we fully support the prosecution of any criminal activities to the fullest extent of the law," the city said in a statement.

The city said because this is an ongoing investigation, they cannot comment further.

Estrada said they had information that the city vehicle was being used to transport migrants and narcotics for about a month.

He said on Thursday, police put surveillance on the vehicle and saw it traveling toward the Rio Grande. Police notified Border Patrol and observed people getting out of the river and into the vehicle.

Estrada said a short pursuit occurred, and the vehicle crashed into a creek where three migrants jumped out and attempted to flee, but were eventually caught.

Police added that what they found inside the truck suggested that Gonzalez was on the clock when the incident happened. 

"He was in full uniform," Escobares patrol officer Jesse Alvarez Jr. said. 

The migrants were ages between 20 and 25 years old; one was from Mexico and the other two were from Guatemala.

Estrada said Gonzalez has been arrested before for narcotics and human smuggling.

Gonzalez and the three migrants were detained by Border Patrol.

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