Deputies intercept human smuggling operations by train; capture El Salvador fugitive wanted for murder

Medina County–Sheriff Randy Brown and his deputies were on their way back to the Medina County Jail with suspects this past Monday, after busting two San Antonio men on human smuggling charges near Castroville. This is just two of about a dozen people who are facing Human Smuggling charges in Medina County and awaiting court dates, Sheriff says. In an incident this past October, they detained an undocumented immigrant that resulted in the capture of a wanted fugitive from El Salvador between Devine/Castroville.
“Today, about 14 illegal aliens came in on the train near Hwy 90, and the two smuggling suspects were there to pick them up. This was a father-son smuggling operation,” Sheriff Brown said in an interview this Monday. “I don’t know exactly what border town these people are getting on, but I know where the trains stop in Medina County.”
Sometimes it’s a group of 4 and sometimes, it’s a group of 20, he explains.
“Human smugglers have quite a network. From the intel we have gathered, many smugglers are recruiting these people on social media like Facebook, and are charging anywhere from $1,500-$2,500 per person to pick them up. But when we show up and seize their vehicles and all their cash, I think they start to see that this is not that great of a ‘business’ to be in.”
As a result of this latest bust, Medina County Sheriff’s deputies seized two vehicles, drugs (as one was charged for possession of meth), and cash.
Just a few weeks ago, this past October, Medina County deputies detained another group of undocumented immigrants which resulted in the capture of a wanted fugitive from El Salvador.

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“We arrest the smugglers who are running the operation, and turn the illegal aliens over to Border Patrol. When Border Control can’t come pick them up, there are a lot of sheriff’s who will just release these people. But I’m not going to release anyone. We drive them down to the Border Patrol station in Cotulla instead,” Sheriff Brown said. “And that particular time, Border Patrol called me back to say ‘good job and thanks,’ because one of those illegal aliens in that group was wanted for Murder. I believe he was detained with a group near the railroad crossing on FM 1343 (between Devine and Castroville).”
What happens after deputies turn the undocumented immigrants over to BP, he explains, is “out of our hands”.
“We do our part, and unfortunately, we can’t control what happens after that,” Sheriff Brown said. “It’s a mess right now. We are dealing with this on a daily basis.”
“There are some sheriff’s who are pressing criminal trespassing charges on illegal aliens, but where do you want me to put them? I do not have room in our jail for that,” Sheriff Brown stated.
In fact, the county is currently paying $50 per day to house other inmates in area jails, because our jail has been full for years. Construction has recently begun for much-needed jail expansion which will avoid the need for housing prisoners out of county.
Brown is confident that those he has arrested for Human Smuggling will face plenty jail time however.
“Only time will tell, because the court date for our first Human Smuggling case since all this began has not come up yet,” Sheriff Brown said. “But I believe they will be facing some steep consequences.”