Men caught using plane to smuggle immigrants at Harlingen airport

Carlos Franco // CCSO

Two men are behind bars after they were caught smuggling immigrants through the Valley International Airport.

Carlos Franco and Hevor Marin were taken into custody Saturday, along with the four immigrants.

An investigation led by the Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air Interdiction Agents, led them to a Mexican registered airplane at the airport.

Franco, the pilot of the plane, met with Marin who was driving a black Volkswagen vehicle with four undocumented immigrants.

Once the immigrants were on the plane, agents approached Franco who boarded last.

All four of the immigrants were interviewed at this time.

Agents conducted a traffic stop on Marin after it was determined they were attempting to smuggle the immigrants.

Once in custody, Franco said he was going to be paid $3,000 to take the four immigrants to San Marcos, TX from Harlingen.

He continued to say that he had previously worked with Marin smuggling before, and that Marin paid him for transporting immigrants.

Marin told agents that this was the third time he was smuggling immigrants.

He had been paid $60 on two previous incidents, and thought he would be paid around the same amount again.

Documents stated the immigrants were picked up at the La Plaza Mall in McAllen in a black car driven by Marin, and were taken to the airport in Harlingen.

The immigrants paid $14,000 to be taken from Mexico to Houston, TX.

Franco and Marin stood in front of Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya, III Monday.

The pair TMs bonds were set at $5,000 and were taken to the custody of the U.S. Marshal.