At a time when many 19-year olds are transitioning from high school to college, a pair from San Antonio are contemplating a possible federal prison sentence, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
Abigail Contreras and Jesus Rodriguez were busted on I-35 in Bellmead, trafficking illegal immigrants in the back seat of their car. A report by the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office shows that deputies pulled over a black Dodge Avenger for a suspected expired license plate and defective license plate light.
Contreras told deputies that the two men in the back seat were her uncles and she was giving them a ride. Instead, one of the men admitted that they were both illegal immigrants. The teens were paid $800 to bring the men from San Antonio to Dallas.
Rice University cartel expert Tony Payan says the trafficking organizations have long used kids to smuggle drugs across the border, but as they're evolving more into the human trafficking realm, they may be using teens to fly below the radar.
"Teenagers are not fully developed in their moral judgement to understand the consequences, so they're very good for organized crime because they can be impressed by a few hundred bucks," he says.
Contreras and Rodriguez were each charged with a second-degree felony charge of smuggling of persons and a state jail felony charge of possession of fake ID.
Both are out on $15,000 bond.