A Mexican citizen was accused of being part of a sophisticated operation that hid undocumented immigrants and sent them into the country's interior on board chartered airplanes.
Federal prosecutor Kenneth Magidson said that authorities arrested Jorge Luis Gallegos Avila, 39, for transporting immigrants who were detained as they were about to board a charter flight at McAllen-Miller International Airport in the Texas border city of McAllen.
The plane was headed to San Antonio.
A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Adelina Pruneda, said that it is common to discover "coyotes" transporting immigrants by land, but this operation is more sophisticated since it involves air transport.
According to the indictment, Gallegos, who is being held without bond, was arrested on June 20 after he was seen leaving several immigrants at the airport.
The undocumented status of the five immigrants was discovered during a review by Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security agents.
The indictment says that Gallegos, along with other individuals, had collected a group of immigrants on the bank of the Rio Grande River and took them to several safe houses in the McAllen area, where they remained until they were taken to the airport.
Gallegos' trial is set for September he could be sentenced to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines if convicted. EFE