One of the alleged smugglers, 17-year-old Jonathan Rodriguez, told NewsNation it was his first time attempting to smuggle someone and that he landed the job through a social media advertisement.
Now, he’s being charged as an adult for smuggling of persons.
The teen shared some sobering and eye-opening insight into the intricate web that pairs illegal migrants with smugglers to take them from the border into the U.S.
Rodriguez said he responded to an ad on Telegram from a cartel that promised to pay him and his friend $1,300 per person smuggled. Their plot to make money failed when they were pulled over by DPS for running a stop sign.
He told NewsNation that he regretted taking the opportunity, explaining that the second he saw the red and blue lights, he knew he was “screwed.”
Under SB4 — the new bill awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott‘s signature — Texas DPS and other law enforcement including the Florida Wildlife Commission can arrest people who enter the state illegally between the ports of entry.
Law enforcement told NewsNation it hopes to curb the uptick in pursuits seen this year.
The Kinney County sheriff said they have already seen 226 pursuits since January, compared to 168 for all of last year.