Texas Arrests Border Smuggler Wearing Black Lives Matter Hoodie

Lt. Chris Olivarez, Texas DPS

Lisa Moore Contributor
Font Size:

A smuggler from Mexico wearing a Black Lives Matter hoodie was arrested Tuesday morning in Mission, Texas, by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) after bringing a group of six illegal immigrants, including a 15-year-old girl, across the Rio Grande.

Rene Alberto Mendez, 23, of Mexico, has been charged by the state with felony smuggling of persons and felony smuggling of persons under 18 after smuggling a group across the Rio Grande by raft.

“He was wearing a Black Lives Matter sweater which was kind of strange to us to see that, but we’ve seen strange things before. But to see that was pretty shocking to us,” Lt. Chris Olivarez, of the Texas DPS, told Daily Caller.

“We had camera images of him on the raft, and then once the raft made landfall, he got out and actually guided the group to the brush, and that’s why on his phone, it shows there his path, his track, from the river to where he was supposed to drop off these people,” Olivarez said. (RELATED: Daily Caller Investigates Human Smugglers Working At Night During The Border Crisis)

Olivarez explained that Mendez was using WhatsApp, typical of smugglers to coordinate their operations.

“They use WhatsApp, because it’s encrypted. Once they know if they’re going to get arrested or tracked, they try to delete it,” Olivarez told the caller. “In this case, we were able to get his phone before he was able to do any of that. We were able to gather that intel that shows all his documentation, shows who he’s communicating with, shows his coordinates.”

Whether Mendez goes to prison, he will now always have a hold on his record that will require him to be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, who will likely deport him back to Mexico, Olivarez said. The hold will always be on his record, regardless of whether he serves a sentence, he explained.

Since the Texas DPS has been partnering with Border Patrol since January 2023, Olivarez explained, they have seen a decrease in smuggling attempts, as the DPS can make arrests and file state charges against smugglers. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: My Night At The Border With ‘Operation Lone Star’ In Texas)

“We know we’re making an impact on them [the smugglers] because obviously, they’re changing their ways of smuggling people because they know we’re out there,” he stated. “Now when they see us, they see our uniforms, they know, ‘OK, when we get caught by these guys, they’re taking us to jail.'”