EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A federal grand jury has indicted a Mexican man in connection with a stash house in Northeast El Paso where at least 80 unauthorized migrants passed through between June and July.
Wednesday’s indictment charges Ricardo Alvarez – himself an unauthorized non-citizen – with a count of conspiracy to harbor aliens and a count of harboring aliens for financial gain.
Agents with the anti-smuggling unit of the U.S. Border Patrol were on to Alvarez after receiving information on July 18 about a migrant stash house operating on Falcon Avenue a short distance away from the El Paso Regional Communications Center, which houses an El Paso Police Department substation and other law enforcement offices.
Court records show that the Border Patrol and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers showed up at the house, knocked and began interviewing Alvarez, who willingly opened the door. Alvarez allegedly admitted to being in the country illegally; when law enforcement asked him if any other unauthorized migrants were in the house, he said “about 20.”
Alvarez gave agents and troopers permission to enter the house, where they discovered another 26 unauthorized migrants and wads of $100 bills in one of the bedrooms, court records show. Alvarez allegedly told the agents the money was dropped off to him by drivers bringing people to the house.
He said he worked for a man to whom he owed thousands of dollars and that he took care of the house and guests to pay his debt, court records show. He allegedly received $100 to $150 periodically to buy groceries for the migrants.
Alvarez told the agents he supervised more than 80 unauthorized migrants since June and that he was holding the money for a migrant smuggling organization that would transport them to Albuquerque, New Mexico, court records show.
Agents arrested Alvarez and seized $16,242 from the house they suspected was illicit proceeds from migrant smuggling.
The 26 migrants were taken to the Paso del Norte Processing Center for removal.