CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A Harlingen man was ordered to prison on Tuesday after working as a “brush guide,” and abandoning his group during the February freeze.
Eduardo Javier Jimenez, 27, plead guilty to the smuggling attempts on May 4 and June 22, according to a release from Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
In February, Jimenez was found on the side of the road by authorities asking for a ride. They noticed his pants were wet and suspected he had been acting as a brush guide. Their suspicions could not be verified and they released him, according to the release.
Law enforcement then apprehended a group of 12 individuals who had circumvented the Sarita checkpoint. The group had been abandoned by their guide, leaving them “in below freezing temperatures for more than 15 hours,” the release stated. A person in the group claimed the brush guide told them he needed to use the restroom and would catch up, but left them and disappeared.
One person in the group succumbed to hypothermia and died of dehydration.
A week later, Jimenez was found working as a brush guide for a different group. He then admitted he had done the same for the other group the week of the hard freeze. He initially claimed the group abandoned him, but later admitted this information was not true.
He eventually plead guilty to both smuggling attempts.
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation, with the assistance of Border Patrol, per the release.