Arrest made in fatal migrant smuggling incident on train in Uvalde County
A man has been arrested in connection with the smuggling incident that led to 17 migrants being trapped on a train Friday in Uvalde County, Texas. Two migrants died in the incident.
Denniso Carranza Gonzales, a Honduran national, was allegedly a walking guide for a group of 12 Honduran migrants that day, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas and obtained by ABC News.
According to the US Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), 15 men and two women were discovered on the Union Pacific train.
Gonzales said he guided groups of undocumented immigrants from Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico to Eagle Pass, Texas, for three months “in order to pay his own smuggling costs,” according to the criminal complaint. He said smugglers told him he would be “taken care of” for continuing to smuggle groups, the complaint states.
The groups would be guided in train cars on the way to San Antonio, he said, according to the complaint.
The initial 911 call came in at 3:50 p.m. local time on Friday from an “unknown third-party caller” advising that there were many “choked up” immigrants inside a Union Pacific train , Uvalde police said in a statement posted on Facebook.
The US Border Patrol was able to stop the train two or three miles outside of Knippa, Texas.
“We are heartbroken to learn of yet another tragic incident of migrants undertaking the dangerous journey,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. statement SATURDAY.
Court records allege Gonzales says he took the group to a designated train where another man arrived and told him they would be placed in a Conex box on a train car. The doors were closed once Gonzales and the group boarded the train.
According to the complaint, he told investigators the group became concerned once the train began to move.
He added that he “told people to stay calm and breathe deeply” and that the doors would be opened once the train arrived in San Antonio, according to the complaint.
Gonzales said he called the man who placed them in the Conex box when “the box became extremely hot and the air became harder to breathe,” according to the complaint. When the man did not respond, Gonzales told the group to start calling 911, he told investigators.
He says he didn’t know people had died in the incident, according to the complaint.
HSI is still investigating the second fatal rail incident that occurred this weekend in Eagle Pass, Texas.
The Eagle Pass incident happened around 4:30 p.m. Saturday at a Union Pacific yard, when someone inside a boxcar parked in the yard called 911, said a Union Pacific spokesperson.
Law enforcement found 12 migrants trapped inside a sweltering boxcar, including one who was pronounced dead at the scene and three others requiring hospitalization, officials said.
Homeland Security has launched a human trafficking investigation into the incident. No arrests have been announced.
It is unclear if the Uvalde County and Eagle Pass incidents are related.