Weslaco man promised $2,700 to smuggle undocumented persons

A Weslaco man faces federal harboring charges related to his arrest last week when he was found with undocumented people within his vehicle, records show.

Andres Vargas-Garcia faces bringing in and harboring charges related to his Oct. 1 arrest in Weslaco after U.S. Border Patrol agents pulled him over and discovered several foreign nationals who did not have legal authorization to be in the country inside his vehicle.

Garcia, 34, was pulled over after a “concerned citizen” called authorities about a Jeep picking up people in an area near McManus and Bell’s Brothers farms south of Donna, an area known for human smuggling, records show.

“The information was relayed via service radio to Border Patrol Agents in the field. This area is well known for alien and narcotic smuggling, due to the proximity to the Rio Grande River,” the document states.

After activating their lights and pulling Garcia’s vehicle over, the Border Patrol agent approached the vehicle.

“Agents observed 9 more subjects crammed in the back seat. All nine (persons) were determined to be illegally present in the United States,” the document states.

After he was detained, Garcia spoke with authorities, during which he admitted to the smuggling incident.

“(Garcia) claims he was in need of money and a friend offered him a job picking up illegal aliens,” the court complaint states.

He admitted he picked up eight or nine people and was expected to receive $300 for each person, for roughly $2,700.

“ (Garcia) stated he was receiving instructions via his cellular phone and added that the vehicle he used was provided to him by the people who hired him,” the document states.

One of the undocumented people gave a statement to authorities.

The person claimed they paid $5,000 to be transported to Houston prior to Garcia’s arrest.

Garcia who made his initial appearance Monday, is expected to appear for a detention hearing later this week.

If convicted, Garcia faces between five and 10 years in federal prison.