AP NEWS

Feds discover 26 undocumented immigrants

April 13, 2019

A tip from federal authorities in Falfurrias led Brownsville Border Patrol agents to the discovery of 26 undocumented immigrants held inside an apartment complex behind a door with no knob.

A criminal complaint filed against Luis Andres Guadalupe Medel on Thursday details how Border Patrol agents in Falfurrias who apprehended subjects in Falfurrias learned that undocumented immigrants were being held at an apartment in Brownsville and that Medel was the caretaker and load driver.

Brownsville Border Patrol agents first encountered Medel, who had an active warrant from Weslaco for resisting an officer, on April 9 after pulling him over near an area where undocumented immigrants had crossed into Brownsville, court records indicate.

Medel allegedly could not provide any documentation proving his identity and is accused of giving authorities a false name and date of birth.

Under questioning, Medel neither admitted nor denied his involvement in smuggling undocumented immigrants, but did tell investigators he used to live at the apartment with family members where his sister now lives, according to the criminal complaint.

The apartment’s address is redacted as is Medel’s full date of birth, though court records indicate he was born sometime in 1992.

Because of the circumstances, Border Patrol agents reported they approached the apartment complex to perform a knock-and-talk and noticed the apartment door didn’t have a knob, just a dead bolt, court documents indicate.

The agents reported seeing multiple people peeking through the front and rear windows of the apartment and hearing an unusual amount of movement inside.

So the agents called out to the people inside to open the door and were told the door was unlocked, according to the criminal complaint.

Border Patrol reported discovering 26 undocumented immigrants inside from different countries and material witnesses from Honduras and Mexico identified Medel as their transporter, as the person giving them instructions and as the person being in charge of their wellbeing, court documents indicate.

Medel, who is charged with a felony smuggling conspiracy to transport and harbor, is being held without bond pending probable cause and detention hearings scheduled on April 16 at 1:30 p.m. in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com