Texas couple accused of trying to smuggle 89 migrants across Mexico border in stolen trailer

·2 min read
US Border Patrol officials found 89 migrants in the back of a trailer (US Border Patrol)
US Border Patrol officials found 89 migrants in the back of a trailer (US Border Patrol)

A Texas couple has been arrested and are facing charges for an alleged attempted smuggling operation involving 89 undocumented migrants at the US border with Mexico.

Marc Anthony Bane and Tara Renee Dillon, aged 45 and 33, respectively, were set to appear in front of a US magistrate judge on Thursday following their arrest by Border Patrol (BP), according to an arrest affidavit. The arrest occurred on 13 July.

The pair allegedly approached a BP checkpoint about 29 miles north of Laredo, Texas, on Interstate Highway 35, with an 18-wheel trailer when they were stopped and searched, and afterwards arrested for smuggling.

With the help of a BP dog that allegedly smelled an odour from within the trailer a total of 89 non-US citizens were found inside of it, in what was an apparent smuggling attempt.

The individuals inside the trailer “were sweating profusely inside the warm trailer even though it was approximately 3 am when authorities found them”, the arrest affidavit said on Thursday.

According to the Laredo Morning Times, Mr Bane told officials he thought he was going to be paid $1,000 (£727) for transporting the trailer from outside of a Walmart in Laredo, and through the BP checkpoint on Interstate Highway 35.

The couple had reportedly arranged to take the trailer to San Antonio, from where it would be handed to a man they referred to as “Brian” – who had allegedly called them days before with the offer – and with who they arranged the pick-up from Laredo.

It was not clear who transported the trailer across the border, that splits Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

Mr Bane and Ms Dillon are facing up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 (£181,799) maximum fine if found guilty of smuggling, the arrest affidavit added.

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