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A south Texas man admitted to smuggling undocumented immigrants who were trapped in a travel trailer in Sarita, Texas. The investigation was by Homeland Security Investigations.


Gaston Perez, a 40-year-old Brownsville resident, pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Texas, on Nov. 1, 2022 to transporting unlawfully present non-citizens within the United States.

On June 30, 2022 Perez drove a truck hitched with a recreational vehicle into the Javier Vega BP checkpoint near Sarita, Texas. Shortly after, a K-9 alerted law enforcement to the RV. Further inspection revealed multiple individuals trapped in the back of the travel trailer.

They were unable to exit on their own due to the slide outs being drawn in and not having power to extend them.

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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 individuals were discovered in the front of the RV.

Law enforcement used a back scatter machine to scan the travel trailer and found two anomalies inside a wooden entertainment console. They removed a television set and discovered two more individuals sweating profusely.

A total of 10 unlawfully present non-citizens were located in the RV. One of them told authorities she felt like she was going to faint as she was getting out of the trailer.

Perez is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 15, 2023. At that time, he faces up to five years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Perez was allowed to remain on bond pending that hearing.