Brownsville man pleads guilty to transporting people trapped in travel trailer
CORPUS, CHRISTI, TX -- A 40-year-old Brownsville resident has admitted to transporting illegal aliens within the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
On June 30, Gaston Perez drove a truck hitched with a recreational vehicle (RV) in to the Javier Vega Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint near Sarita. Shortly after, a K-9 alerted law enforcement to the RV. Further inspection revealed individuals trapped in the back of the travel trailer. They were unable to exit on their own due to the slide outs being drawn in and not having power to extend them.
Authorities used jumper cables to restart the RV battery and operate the slide outs. Five people were located in the back of the trailer including two inside a bed. Three additional individuals were discovered in the front of the RV.
Law enforcement used a backscatter machine to scan the travel trailer and found two anomalies inside a wooden entertainment console. They removed a television set and discovered two more individuals sweating profusely.
A total of 10 undocumented individuals were located in the RV. One of them told authorities she felt like she was going to faint as she was getting out of the trailer.
U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos will impose sentencing Feb. 15, 2023. At that time, Perez faces up to five years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
Perez was allowed to remain on bond pending that hearing.
BP and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Liesel Roscher and J. Parker Gochenour are prosecuting the case.