EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Border Patrol agents arrested a member of a transnational criminal organization suspected of smuggling weapons and trafficking narcotics, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Monday.
On the evening of Jan. 29, Brewster County sheriff’s deputies were conducting a traffic stop on Highway 118 when several individuals got out of the vehicle and ran off. Two men were detained, including a U.S. citizen and a Mexican national in the country illegally.
Agents assigned to the Big Bend Sector’s Alpine Station were called to assist and learned that the driver, identified as Roman Villanueva, was an associate of the La Linea cartel suspected of smuggling guns and drugs.
The Mexican man, later identified as Sergio Ochoa, was previously convicted of aggravated battery, child abuse and possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.
In a statement, Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Matthew J. Hudak said, “The partnerships that we have as law enforcement agencies are fundamental to keeping our communities safe. This success is a reflection of working well together.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents took custody of both men, who face prosecution. Meanwhile, agents continue searching for the individuals who ran from the vehicle.
From Jan. 24-27, agents and deputies apprehended nearly 40 undocumented immigrants, according to a news release. The deputies work with agents through a federally funded program designed to enhance border security, the release said.
“With our limited resources, we need the assistance from our U.S. Border Patrol Agents,” Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson said. “Thankfully we have a great working relationship where we can count on each other.”