Edinburg motel used as stash house for illegal immigrants

Three men are behind bars after they allegedly used an Edinburg motel as a stash house for illegal inmigrants.

It all happened at the Rex Motel off South Closner Boulevard.

U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested the three men on Wednesday:

Leopoldo Garcia-Maldonado Horacio DeLeon-Rodriguez Primitivo Rojas-Garcia

Court records show that the three men may have smuggled as many as 1,000 immigrants over a two-year period.

A woman from Mexico claims she was raped at the motel and smuggled north hidden in an 18-wheeler.

Henry Mendiola with the Border Patrol's regional office in Edinburg said human smugglers routinely abuse and mistreat immigrants.

"These folks are taking all types of risks," Mendiola said. "Whether it's dehydration, physical abuse or sexual assault. There's all types of abuses going on before these people are dropped off in the desert."

Mendiola said Rio Grande Valley residents and visitors are asked to call (800) BE-ALERT if they suspect human smuggling activity.

Rex Motel General Manager Yogi Bhakta declined to speak on camera but told Action 4 News that neither he and his staff were aware that their motel rooms were being used to move illegal immigrants.

The rooms rented by the suspected smugglers were in a unit towards the back of the motel and away from traffic on South Closner Boulevard.

"If we had any form of knowledge of this happening, we would have informed the authorities as soon as possible and would not have rented those persons a room," Bhakta said in a statement. "We only found out about this situation because Border Patrol came to pick them up."