Woman faces smuggling charge in harboring case

McALLEN — A Rio Grande City woman who is accused of harboring about 30 people as part of a human smuggling operation was granted a bond, records show.

A federal magistrate judge granted Marineli Hinojosa a $30,000 bond Tuesday related to her federal harboring charges after 30 undocumented persons were arrested in Freer, Texas, on April 16, records show.

Hinojosa, 44, made her initial appearance before a federal magistrate last Friday to hear the charges against her related to her April 23 arrest related to the discovery of the unauthorized persons.

According to the complaint filed against her, Hinojosa is one of potentially multiple people allegedly involved in smuggling immigrants in exchange for cash.

On April 16, U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 30 undocumented persons in Freer as they were being transported in the back of a dump truck. They were originally loaded on the truck in Rio Grande City, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint, which is partially redacted, states some of the undocumented persons interviewed by federal agents identified Hinojosa and a male as their handlers.

A woman from Ecuador stated she agreed to pay $14,000 to be smuggled into the country.

She said she was transported to several stash houses and could remember where one of the houses was located via Google Maps.

She identified Hinojosa as the wife of another man, whose name was redacted in the complaint.

Hinojosa faces between five and 10 years in prison if convicted.

lzazueta@themonitor.com