EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A federal grand jury has indicted a man on conspiracy charges stemming from the apprehension of 47 migrants found hiding in a home in Central El Paso.
Esteban Aguilera is facing charges of conspiracy to harbor and transport illegal aliens in connection with the Aug. 24 arrests at a residence in the 700 block of North Lee Street. His arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Miguel A. Torres is scheduled for Oct. 11 after being indicted last week.
In court documents, federal officials outline Aguilera’s alleged activities on behalf of a transnational criminal organization. They say the El Paso man admitted to them acting as a scout at U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints leading to the interior of the United States and being paid $500 per “run” or trip.
They say he also admitted to acting as a courier for the smuggling organization, going to Juarez, Mexico, three times a week to pick up between $3,000 and $5,000 cash, court documents allege.
Aguilera was arrested on Aug. 24 while driving near the migrant stash house on North Lee Street; he initially told law enforcement agents he was “just cruising” but later allegedly admitted being on his way to check on the stash house, court documents show. The suspect allegedly admitted he agreed with “another smuggler” to look after the home, according to court documents.
Federal agents stated Aguilera was already a person of interest in another smuggling case and the defendant allegedly told investigators following his arrest that he was working to save money to recover his truck – after the U.S. Border Patrol impounded it during a previous incident.
Nonetheless, Aguilera on Sept. 21 stated to the court his intent to plead not guilty to the charges.