On May 17, 2014, at approximately 1:30 p.m., a 2007 GMC U-Haul truck, driven by Sara Laverne Matthews, approached the United States Border Patrol (USBP) checkpoint located in Hebbronville, Texas, on Texas Highway 1017. Upon an initial immigration inspection, Matthews appeared nervous and was shaking and as a result was referred for a secondary inspection.
During the secondary inspection, a USPB canine conducted a free air sniff around the U-Haul truck and alerted the presence of concealed humans and/or narcotics in the rear cargo area. As a result of the canine alert, an x-ray scan of the U-Haul truck was performed. This revealed several human forms in seated positions throughout the entire rear cargo area. Upon opening the rear cargo door, USBP agents discovered 23 individuals who, pursuant to an immigration inspection, were deemed to be undocumented aliens. Inside the rear cargo area, USBP agents discovered several fans and cooling devices which were powered by a car battery as well as a case of bottled water. Matthews was placed under arrested and taken to the Hebbronville, Texas, USBP station for further questioning.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents read Matthews her respective Miranda warnings in the English language which she subsequently waived. During the interview, Matthews stated she had traveled from Corpus Christ, Texas to Donna, Texas, with the intention of picking up a U-Haul truck which she knew contained undocumented aliens. Matthews stated she intended to deliver the undocumented aliens to several individuals in Houston, Texas. Additionally, Matthews informed HSI special agents she set up the fans and cooling devices which were found in the rear cargo area of the U-Haul and also provided the case of water.
Ricardo Deanda-Rizo, Rafael Ramirez-Lopez and Israel Ramos-Hernandez will be held as material witnesses in the case.