EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A year-long federal investigation has led to the arrest of a Horizon City man accused of harboring and transporting migrants via tractor-trailer to various cities across the U.S.
Roberto Benavides, 47, is accused of harboring and transporting more than 100 noncitizens, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Agents arrested him at his Horizon City home Thursday in El Paso County, Texas.
ICE said he was the target of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations in El Paso for over a year.
The investigation also led agents to a pair of properties suspected of being used “to facilitate human smuggling activity.” That’s where they encountered 37 undocumented immigrants, including 23 Hondurans, six Ecuadorans, four Peruvians, two Mexicans, and two El Salvadorans. Agents also seized more than $27,000 from both properties, according to an ICE news release.
“Human smugglers are callous individuals who are driven by greed with total disregard for the health and safety of the people they exploit and endanger,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Taekuk Cho said in a statement. “HSI will continue to work tirelessly utilizing our broad authorities alongside our partners to combat smuggling networks responsible for this dangerous and often deadly activity.”
ICE, HSI and members of the Border Enforcement Security Taskforce investigated the case with the assistance of the U.S. Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector Integrated Targeting Team. The Horizon City Police Department also helped with the investigation.