Mills County Sheriff Clint Hammonds said that twenty citizens of Guatemala discovered being smuggled through Texas in a van stopped in his county have been released after Border Patrol officials said they would not take them because of President Biden’s new orders on immigration.
Sheriff Hammonds said that the driver of the van, 21-year-old Pedro Roda-Lucas, admitted to smuggling his passengers, saying he was to be paid $450 a person when they arrived in Georgia.
Cash and the vehicle were seized and Lucas was placed under arrest for Smuggling of Persons a third-degree felony.
Sheriff Hammonds said it was on Thursday April 1 about 4:30 p.m. that deputies stopped a white 2008 Yukon on US Highway 84 in Center City for a traffic violation.
Deputies approached the vehicle and made contact with the driver who did not have a driver’s license.
Deputies observed 21 men inside the vehicle and determined that all the individuals were from Guatemala and were in the United States illegally.
Deputies assisted by Texas Highway Patrol and Texas Parks and Wildlife Wardens secured the individuals and began interviewing the people.
It was determined that everyone had paid to be brought the United States and all were on their way to Georgia.
All of the people except for the driver did not have any money or cellular phones because they had been taken away from them.
Sheriff Hammonds said members of the Fellowship Baptist Church came on location with vans and helped move the remaining 20 men to the church to get them water and food so that Deputies could finish interviewing them.