MCALLEN, Texas – A Mission teen is charged with the smuggling of persons after attempting to use a Lyft driver to smuggle immigrants. 17-year-old Jose Cristobal Vigil was arrested in Sullivan City after his human smuggling attempt went wrong. According to authorities Vigil allegedly used his sister’s Lyft app to smuggle two Guatemalan nationals. But the ride was cut short after Sullivan City Police officers pulled the Lyft driver over for not having front license plates.
Border Patrol agents say smugglers are constantly changing their tactics.
“We have seen several types of tactics trying to be used. We’ve had cloned vehicles where smugglers will try to use a vehicle that maybe looks like an EMT ride or some type of vehicle that is normally seen in the area and is actually loaded with people or narcotics. We’ve actually had vehicles that were loaded with narcotics in Mexico and ferried across the river so that they can drive off on this side of the United States.”
Vigil and both immigrants were taken into custody. Authorities say Vigil told the officer the Lyft driver was unaware the passengers were undocumented. Lyft released a statement to Local 23 News stating:
“The safety of the Lyft community is our top priority. We have deactivated the passenger’s account used in this incident and reached out to the driver to extend our support.”
Public records show Vigil was released and was given a $10,000 cash surety bond.