An alleged human smuggler found himself behind bars after a motel key in his shirt pocket led authorities to a motel immigrant holding room.
The Joint Targeting Team (JTT) in Hidalgo County was conducting surveillance on several vehicles around the Mission and McAllen area when they noticed a maroon Ford Expedition meet up with various people several times without the driver stepping out of the SUV.
The driver of the SUV was allegedly seen stopped at La Cuchilla, an area known for illegal activity.
U.S. Border Patrol agents saw people board the SUV after running out of a brushy area near La Cuchilla.
The SUV was seen stopped at the motel and when the driver took off, he was pulled over for no seat belt and a defective tail light.
During the traffic stop, Jose Basilio Trejo was arrested and a motel room key labeled 135 was found inside his shirt pocket.
Trejo did not tell police why he had the motel key, according to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court.
Agents went to the Pen-Ann Motel in Pharr to request consent to search room 135.
Inside the room, they allegedly found seven immigrants present in the U.S. without proper documentation.
The six adults and one juvenile were taken to the McAllen Border Patrol Station.
One of the immigrants arrested told authorities Trejo took money from them while they were at the motel.
A total of $360 and $400 in Mexican pesos were seized from Trejo.
Trejo plead not guilty on all counts and remains in custody of the U.S. Marshal TMs.
Jury selection in the case is set for January 7, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Micaela Alvarez.