Four arrested trying to smuggle immigrants in Sarita

Tonya Lyn Avery / Harris County Jail Past Mughsot

Four Houston area residents are behind bars in the Rio Grande Valley after they allegedly tried to smuggle nine illegal immigrants through the Sarita checkpoint.

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested the four during a botched smuggling attempt on Sunday morning.

Court records released on Wednesday morning show that 33-year-old Pasadena resident Rusty Dwayne Plante and 39-year-old Baytown resident Tonya Lyn Avery pulled up to the Sarita checkpoint in a white Chylser Voyager around 9:20 a.m. Sunday.

Border Patrol agents found five illegal immigrants hiding under blankets in the rear of the mini-van.

About three hours later, 49-year-old Houston resident Michael Charles Kirsch and 36-year-old Houston resident Dana Linkinhoker Shows pulled up in a grey Dodge Caravan.

Border Patrol agents found four illegal immigrants hiding underneath blankets.

Court records show that the group had planned the immigrant smuggling trip just a few days earlier in Houston.

The four appeared before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Ronald Morgan in Brownsville on Monday morning.

Court records show that Plante, Avery, Kirsch and Shows are all American citizens.

Plante, Avery and Kirsch have mixed criminal records ranging from drugs to DWI to forgery.

Judge Morgan denied bond for all four of them until a Friday morning hearing.