Sleeping bags used in human smuggling attempt

A father and son were caught trying to smuggle two Mexican nationals under sleeping bags.

U.S. citizens, Vallente and Juan Ovalle were arrested on Thursday morning at the Sarita Checkpoint.

Border Patrol agents became suspicious of their 1999 Ford Ranger when they noticed several blankets and personal belongings in the backseat instead of in the bed of the pick-up.

While being questioned about citizenship, agents said Vallente appeared nervous and avoided eye contact.

Their vehicle was then referred to a secondary inspection.

During the inspection, agents found Mexican nationals, Efrain Santana-Maldonado and Javier Flores Betancourt hidden under the sleeping bags.

All four suspects were taken into custody for questioning.

Vallente told investigators he and his son were going to be paid $900 by a man named, Bert to take Maldonado and Betancourt to Houston.

According to investigators, the father and son met Bert at a Harlingen H.E.B. to pick up Maldonado and Betancourt at 6 a.m. that morning.

Maldonado said he paid $2,000 to enter the country illegally and Betancourt said he was going to pay the driver $1,500.

Both men identified Juan and Vallente as the human smugglers.

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