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Former employee of Starr County DA’s office pleads guilty to human smuggling

Former employee of Starr County DA’s office pleads guilty to human smuggling
1 month 6 days 12 hours ago Saturday, May 18 2024 May 18, 2024 May 18, 2024 7:53 PM May 18, 2024 in News - Local

The former crime victims’ coordinator for the Starr County District Attorney’s Office pleaded guilty to using a county vehicle to smuggle immigrants to Houston.

Bernice Annette Garza pleaded guilty Friday to a count of conspiracy to transport undocumented people within the United States, federal court record show. 

Juan Antonio Charles, Mari Cruz Rosa and Magali Rosa were also arrested in connection with the investigation. They’ve all pleaded guilty to the human smuggling charge as well.

READ ABOUT THE ORIGINAL ARREST HERE

According to the criminal complaint, Garza was arrested on Dec. 2022 during a traffic stop in Victoria County after the sheriff’s office there noted that the vehicle registered with the Starr County District Attorney’s Office was making “numerous unauthorized trips to the Houston area.”

Magali Rosa was identified as the driver of the vehicle that had Garza and Charles among the other passengers.

Magali Rosa insisted Garza was the Starr County district attorney during the traffic stop, the complaint added. She later confessed to making nearly 46 smuggling trips from Rio Grande City to Houston with the other suspects in the government vehicle.

Sentencing for Garza and Charles was set for Sept. 27, 2024. Sentencing for Magali Rosa and Mari Cruz Rosa is set for June 27, 2024. 

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