From Public Servant To Smuggler: How Former Texas Official Engineered A Massive Human Trafficking Scheme

By Alan Hume | Monday, 20 May 2024 01:50 PM
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Bernice Annette Garza, a former official of the Starr County District Attorney’s Office, admitted guilt on Friday to charges of smuggling illegal immigrants using a government vehicle.

Garza was apprehended on December 7, 2022, near Victoria during a routine traffic stop. MY RVG reported that at the time of her arrest, four illegal immigrants were discovered inside the vehicle belonging to the District Attorney’s office.

As reported by Express News, accompanying Garza in the vehicle were Magaly Rosa and her spouse, Juan Antonio Charles, both 40 at the time, who were implicated in the smuggling operation. Court records reveal that the deputy also discovered four visibly shaken undocumented immigrants in the vehicle, donned in new attire, and their responses to inquiries seemed "rehearsed."

Rosa disclosed to authorities that Garza had enlisted her to smuggle immigrants using her county vehicle. She further revealed that Garza supplied counterfeit court documents that falsely identified the immigrants as victims of crime.

According to the criminal complaint, Rosa and her husband utilized their residence as a temporary shelter for newly arrived immigrants. They provided them with food and clothing. Subsequently, Garza would transport Rosa and the immigrants to Houston using her county vehicle.

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Garza confessed to authorities that between June and December 2022, she and her accomplices had conducted over 40 smuggling trips.

The District Attorney’s office terminated Garza's employment on the day of her arrest. She is slated to receive her sentence in September.

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