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New Law Places Human Smugglers as Priority for Deportation

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WESLACO – A Rio Grande Valley police officer said he became familiar with how smugglers would try to get people in the country illegally.

Smugglers accused of transporting or harboring three or more people are now a priority under new orders, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday.  

Primera Police Chief Manuel Trevino said smugglers try a more discreet approach to not fill up the car.

“Usually that attracts less attention. You’ll see only two, three people in the vehicle. It’s less attention than when you have six or seven sitting up in the front,” he said.

Sessions said they will prosecute cases involving three or more aliens and involving bodily injury, sexual assault and death.

Criminal defense attorney Sergio Sanchez said he’s seen prosecutors take all kinds of cases.

“In my experience, the focus is on the larger situations as opposed to the random one-person type of situation,” he said.

U.S. Border Patrol was not willing to comment on what the change could mean for law enforcement. Neither could the Border Patrol union.

Trevino said the so-called “small timers” are equally troublesome.

“That doesn’t make you a small timer, because you can do it three, four, five times a week or three, four times a day… I think with this, this is the purpose of it, of trying to put more pressure on people that want to just transport a couple,” he said.

Trevino said he believes any hike in prosecutions will help keep Valley cities safe.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS asked the Department of Justice what the prosecution orders were under the last administration. The agency would not specify what the standards where like before and said they do not generally give out prosecution guidelines.

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