EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A Phoenix resident who admitted to authorities he drove to the U.S.-Mexico border to illegally transport migrants is facing federal smuggling charges, court documents show.
Border agents in Sasabe, Arizona, said they noticed a “clean looking” Tesla Model 3 with a single occupant approach a dirt road near the border wall last week. The agents a few minutes later saw the Tesla coming back, covered in dust and with an occupant on the front passenger seat, court records show.
The Tesla – whose license plates showed no history of being in Sasabe before – headed away from the border along Service Road 286 and a U.S. Border Patrol vehicle began to follow. Court records show a Border Patrol vehicle stopped the Tesla and that its agents saw an individual dressed in camouflage lying on the backseat.
A search revealed three Guatemalan and Mexican citizens dressed in camouflage were inside the Tesla, including one named Javier Rubio Martinez, who was previously removed from the United States in 2018 for being in the country illegally.
A federal complaint alleges Eduardo Torres Jr., 30, admitted to federal law enforcement officials that he drove to Sasabe with the intent of picking up unauthorized migrants and drive them to Tucson, Arizona.
“Yeah, I know. This is my first time,” the complaint alleges Torres told law enforcement agents. “I was charging my car in Tucson, and I’ve been doing really bad on, like, rent and all that, bro.”
Torres is now facing a federal felony charge of transporting unauthorized migrants for financial gain and a federal misdemeanor charge of assisting unauthorized migrants avoid apprehension. Conviction carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years and a fine for the felony, and one year and fine for the federal misdemeanor.