Border Patrol agents arrest Starr County couple on smuggling charges

Border Patrol agents arrested a Starr County couple last week on smuggling charges.

A concerned citizen called Border Patrol on Thursday about a four-door sedan picking up people at the Azteca Trailer Park in Rio Grande City.

Border Patrol dispatched agents to the trailer park, where they found a four-door sedan matching the description. When agents approached, the front seat passenger ran away.

"Moments later, a concerned citizen waived and shouted to agents 'He is over here,'" according to the federal criminal complaint. The concerned citizen said a man burst into her mobile home and locked himself in the bathroom.

Agents entered the mobile home and arrested Luis Angel Perez-Juarez, who they recognized as the front seat passenger.

Perez left his wife, Keila Marie Reyna, in the car — along with three people who illegally crossed the border, according to the criminal complaint.

When agents questioned Perez, he said strangers jumped in the car without permission. His wife, though, said they went to the trailer park to transport people who illegally crossed the border.

According to the criminal complaint:

REYNA stated her husband, Luis Angel PEREZ-Juarez made smuggling arrangements with an unknown smuggler to pick up and transport illegal aliens and was to be paid $300 to $350 USD. REYNA stated she agreed to drive PEREZ to pick up three people and knew the people they were going to pick up were illegal aliens. Once at the pickup location, REYNA stated PEREZ was on the phone talking to someone and heard him say they were in the area. Moments later, three individuals got into the sedan and sat in the back seat and were eventually stopped by Border Patrol. REYNA stated once Border patrol stopped them, PEREZ instructed her to keep driving but didn (sic) not follow his instructions. REYNA indicated before PEREZ ran from Border Patrol he instructed the three individuals to run. REYNA stated she has been the scout (lookout) for PEREZ when picking up illegal aliens in several occasions in the past.

Perez and Reyna are charged with bringing in and harboring aliens.

Court records don't list attorneys for Perez and Reyna, who remain in federal custody and couldn't be reached for comment.

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