A U.S. citizen accused of harboring nearly 50 illegal migrants who almost died in a U-Haul truck will remain in jail until trial, My RGV News reported Wednesday.
Law enforcement officers initially encountered Isaac Livan Martinez during a traffic stop where they discovered he and a passenger had active warrants, according to My RGV. Border Patrol officials reported observing a large quantity of food in Martinez’s vehicle where he admitted to harboring around 30 illegal migrants at his residence in San Juan, Texas.
Border officials found 45 illegal migrants at Martinez’s residence after he consented to a search of the property, according to My RGV. A man from El Salvador told officials he and 18 others were smuggled into the U.S. in the back of a U-Haul and that the migrants thought they might die.
“The 18 (people) were placed in the back of the U-Haul Truck, which also contained furniture and were closed inside for approximately 2 hours as the U-Haul Truck traveled,” the criminal complaint said, My RGV reported. “(He) felt they were going to die because it was so hot in the back of the U-Haul and some of the (people) removed clothing to try and cool off.”
The El Salvadorian told officials the illegal migrants were taken to a stash house without food or water and that the smuggler confiscated their cell phones before they were put in the U-Haul, My RGV reported. The illegal migrants were reportedly instructed not to make noise, go outside or turn on lights at the stash house and slept on the bare floor.
A witness told officials the group of illegal migrants were supposed to be dropped off in a rural area so they could walk between eight and 16 hours to a Customs and Border Protection processing checkpoint, My RGV reported. Two witnesses identified Martinez as the person who transported the illegal migrants. (RELATED: Trump Says Southern Border Is ‘More Dangerous Than It’s Ever Been’ Under Biden)
Martinez appeared in federal court for a detention hearing Tuesday, according to My RGV. A collaborative investigation between Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations and the San Juan Police department led to Martinez’s arrest on June 28.
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