CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A complex search of a recreational vehicle at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint near Sarita this summer uncovered 10 migrants in distress.
Now, the man who was hauling the trailer has admitted to his role and is awaiting sentencing by a federal judge, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
Gaston Perez, a 40-year-old Brownsville resident, admitted to illegally transporting migrants within the United States, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Texas announced Tuesday.
On June 30, Perez drove a truck hitched with a recreational vehicle into the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint near Sarita. There, a detection dog alerted law enforcement to the RV, where agents found people trapped inside.
“They were unable to exit on their own due to the slide outs being drawn in and not having power to extend them,” the USAO said. “Authorities used jumper cables to restart the RV battery and operate the slide outs.”
Five people were located in the back of the trailer, including two inside a bed. Three additional people were discovered in the front of the RV.
However, the search was not over yet.
A machine used to scan the travel trailer found two more people hidden inside a wooden entertainment console.
“They removed a television set and discovered two more individuals sweating profusely,” the USAO said.
In all, 10 migrants were found hidden in the RV.
“One of them told authorities she felt like she was going to faint as she was getting out of the trailer,” the USAO said.
U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos will impose sentencing Feb. 15, 2023. Perez faces up to five years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. Perez was allowed to remain on bond pending that hearing, authorities said.