Crime of the week: Human smuggling arrests in Wichita County
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Human smuggling is a crime that’s been on the rise in the U.S. over the past few years, and Wichita Falls is no exception with an arrest earlier this week in Electra. Chief Photojournalist Joseph Saint has more with Friday’s crime of the week.
On July 5 around 8 a.m., local police observed a silver SUV traveling down U.S. 287 access road.
“It looks like one of our officers with the Wichita County Sheriff’s Office stopped a vehicle in Electra for failing to stop at a stop sign,” Sgt. Charlie Eipper, Wichita Falls Police Department PIO, said.
When the Toyota failed to stop at the stop sign, the Sgt. conducted a routine traffic stop.
“Through investigation and him observing things that just didn’t look right, the driver finally told him that he was actually transporting seven undocumented persons,” Eipper said.
The vehicle had seven occupants not including the driver, William Rene Baran-Carlos. According to Carlos, they were currently traveling from Las Vegas to Houston.
Carlos reportedly stated he did not know any of his passengers by name and only knew them through roofing jobs. He eventually stated he had met an individual at casino in Nevada who asked him to pick up the occupant’s of the Toyota at an unknown gas station and transport them to a fiesta store in Houston. Once there, Carlos would get paid $100 per person for the transportation.
“You just don’t know who you got that’s transporting, that’s the danger of somebody actually putting their lives, and I know there a lot at risk and a lot of desperation, but still it’s just very dangerous putting your life in someone’s hands that you don’t know.”
Carlos was placed under arrest for the smuggling of persons, a third-degree felony.
Another arrest for human smuggling was made on Friday, July 8, after law enforcement stopped a vehicle at the intersection of U.S. 287 and Midway Church Road near Electra.
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