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Illegal immigrant describes stash house conditions

An illegal immigrant among a group of 60 caught being smuggled through Mission earlier this week said he was deprived basic necessities like food, according to federal documents.

The immigrants apprehended were found in a pink trailer stash house at 6920 San Isidro or in an orange grove at the intersection of Mile 9 and Inspiration Road, the documents said.

Federal authorities also arrested four men in the case they say played different roles, which included helping coordinate pick-ups, driving immigrants to the locations, scouting for cars carrying immigrants and law enforcement or acting as caretaker of the stash house.

Juan Confesor Bobadilla-Cuellar, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, identified one of the four men arrested as the caretaker of the home where Border Patrol found 45 people. The immigrant said Manuel Trinidad Barahona-Hernandez “wrote their names in a notebook and deprived them of food, water and toilet paper while at the stash house.”

Border Patrol agents first caught wind of the smuggling when they received a tip from a citizen and saw two cars pick people up from the grove on Monday, the documents state.

A Guatemalan immigrant, Mario Ruiz-Soloman, was also able to identify Barahona-Hernandez as the caretaker, the documents state. He noted that Barahona-Hernandez would leave the house every time he used his cell phone.

The other three men who also face a charge of immigrant smuggling are Esteban Hurtado-Martinez, Mario Zepada-Borja, who are both also in the country illegally, and Jose Antonio Rodriguez-Avila.

According to the court documents, Rodriguez-Avila said his father-in-law hires drivers to smuggle undocumented immigrants through the orange groves. He said he was directed by his father-in-law to contact Hurtado-Martinez about picking the immigrants up.

The documents also state Zepada-Borja told agents he was paid $1,000 to scout vehicles – either those carrying immigrants or authorities – and that he was seen helping Hurtado-Martinez locate the immigrants in the grove. Zepada-Borja identified Rodriguez-Avila and another man as those who hired him from a photo lineup.

Hurtado-Martinez said he was paid $300 a week for transporting.

Border Patrol agents said they followed a vehicle driven by Hurtado-Martinez on Monday morning, which led them to the trailer. Later that evening, the agents performed a “knock and talk” at the home and obtained permission to search, finding the large group, the documents stated.

The next day, Tuesday, the agents and air marine pilots searched the orange grove based on what Hurtado-Martinez had told them, the documents state. Though he said there were 50 immigrants there, agents found 15.


Category: DR News |

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Last updated March 29, 2017 at 12:43 AM
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