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Records: Border Patrol agents bust Mission woman smuggling migrants 'for her friend'

Priscilla Ann Rodriguez, 30, of Mission is charged with bringing in and harboring illegal aliens. (Photo courtesy of the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office)

Border Patrol agents arrested a 30-year-old Mission woman Sunday after she confessed to transporting people who illegally crossed the Rio Grande "for her friend," according to the criminal complaint.

The investigation started with a tip: someone reported a suspicious white sedan near the Los Ebanos ferry.

With help from a Customs and Border Protection aircraft, agents located a white Chevrolet sedan and a maroon Ford sedan driving away from Los Ebanos.

According to the criminal complaint:

The vehicles passed an awaiting agent's location and the agent began traveling behind both vehicles, a white Chevrolet sedan and a maroon Ford sedan. As the agent attempted to pull behind the white Chevrolet, the maroon Ford attempted to block the agent by increasing and decreasing its speed. This tactic is used to protect the load vehicle from being stopped by law enforcement.

The agent eventually stopped the white Chevrolet sedan on U.S. 83 in La Joya.

Agents arrested the driver, Priscilla Ann Rodriguez, 30, of Mission, and three passengers who weren't legally present in the United States.

According to the criminal complaint:

RODRIGUEZ stated to agents that she didn't want to get into trouble for this again (alien smuggling), and that she has already been in trouble for this (alien smuggling).

Rodriguez said a friend asked her to drive the migrants from Los Ebanos to McAllen "and was only picking them up for her friend," according to the criminal complaint.

Agents also interviewed one of the passengers, who said he illegally rafted across the Rio Grande with four other people and a guide. After the group crossed the river, Rodriguez picked them up.

"Once the authorities got behind them, the driver stated 'shit, we are caught,'" the passenger said, according to the criminal complaint. "One of the smuggled aliens asked what will happen to them and the driver replied to be quiet and not to say anything."

Rodriguez is charged with bringing in and harboring aliens.

Court records don't list an attorney for Rodriguez, who remains in federal custody and couldn't be reached for comment.

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