More than 1,000 illegal immigrants rushed border in El Paso, officials say

More than 1,000 illegal immigrants rushed border in El Paso, officials say

More than a thousand illegal immigrants rushed the border in El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday and into Thursday, officials said, blaming what they called “false information” fed by smugglers.

The migrants began showing up in the afternoon and trickled in by groups of 20 to 30 people all through the night and into Thursday morning.

Most were from Venezuela but others came from Nicaragua, Colombia and Ecuador, Customs and Border Protection said.

“Many of the migrants claimed that they received information regarding CBP immigration policies via various social media platforms,” the agency said. “Migrants indicated social media posts stated that if they surrendered to agents in El Paso at a certain location, they would be allowed to remain in the United States. That information was not correct.”

The mass incursion suggested a breakdown in President Biden’s new program to try to encourage illegal immigrants not to jump the border but rather to show up for an appointment at an official crossing.

Those that do schedule an appointment will be caught and released, while those who jump the border will be shipped back to Mexico.

That program applies to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti and Cuba.

But the migrants who arrived from Colombia and Ecuador are likely to have better luck.

Of the roughly 12,500 Colombian migrants whom the Border Patrol apprehended at the southern border in February, only about 2,100 were expelled under the Title 42 pandemic border policy.

Anthony Scott Good, the chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector, blamed “the lies of the smugglers” for providing “false information” to entice people to make the journey — and to pay thousands of dollars to the smuggling organizations for the trip.

The problem is that oftentimes, the information isn’t completely false, and migrants are being caught and released.

It’s that chance for a foothold in the U.S. that experts say is enticing much of the wave of illegal immigration that erupted under Mr. Biden.

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Mount Vernon foster parent, her mom plead guilty in international kidnapping case

Mount Vernon foster parent, her mom plead guilty in international kidnapping case

Amanda Dinges and her mother Amber entered their guilty pleas March 23 after previously pleading not guilty in January.

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — A mother and her daughter accused of kidnapping a Mount Vernon boy and taking him to Vietnam both pleaded guilty to one count of custodial interference.

Amanda Dinges and her mother Amber entered their guilty pleas March 23 after previously pleading not guilty in January. Amanda Dinges will serve 12 months in Skagit County Jail; Amber Dinges will serve six months.

The two were accused of leaving the country with Amanda’s 5-year-old foster child. Authorities say the pair fled to Vietnam with the child shortly after Thanksgiving.

About a week earlier, the duo met with the child’s biological mother to arrange overnight visits. Shortly after that both they and the boy disappeared.

Investigators were able to track the boy to a city near Hanoi, Vietnam where he was brought back to America and reunited with his biological mother.  

Amanda and Amber Dinges were arrested at Sea-Tac Airport about two weeks later. It remains unclear why they took the boy to Vietnam and what the alleged abductors’ plans may have been with him.

Skagit County Prosecutor Rich Weyrich personally took on the case.

“If you’ve had a 5-year-old, if you lost him, you wouldn’t know what to do,” the veteran prosecutor previously said. “We’d like to give a lot of credit to the Mount Vernon police and the federal authorities who helped us recover the child and bring him back.”

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Maury Island resident indicted for human trafficking

Maury Island resident indicted for human trafficking

The owner of a landscaping business allegedly forced undocumented workers into forced labor and now faces 10 federal charges.

VASHON ISLAND, Wash — A 44-year-old Vashon Island resident faces 10 federal felony charges related to human trafficking in the form of forced labor. 

Jesus Ruiz-Hernandez was originally indicted in November 2022 for transporting, harboring and bringing in an undocumented worker for financial gain. The superseding indictment, which was returned this week, had seven additional charges.

“Undocumented people are particularly vulnerable to forced labor schemes because they believe they do not have the same basic rights as U.S. citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “In this case, the grand jury found that Mr. Ruiz-Hernandez sought to enrich himself by forcing undocumented workers to labor for him and that he benefitted financially by bringing undocumented workers to western Washington.”

In the spring of 2017, Ruiz-Hernandez allegedly used force, threats of force and physical violence to force an adult to work for him. According to the indictment, the victim also suffered aggravated sexual abuse. 

From July 2018 to August 2021, Ruiz-Hernandez also allegedly forced a second victim to work. That victim was also allegedly threatened.

Both victims were brought to the United States for financial gain, according to the indictment.

Ruiz-Hernandez is also charged with transporting and harboring a third victim for financial gain between May 202 and August 2021.

When Ruiz-Hernandez was arrested on the first indictment in November 2022, a judge determined there were conditions he could safely be released, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He was out of custody until March 30.

After his arrest, law enforcement found he was allegedly harboring five additional workers who do not appear to be U.S. citizens. An investigation into how they came to be employed by Ruiz-Hernandez is under investigation. 

A judge ruled he cannot be safely released back into the community and posed a flight risk.

Ruiz-Hernandez’s trial is set for May 15.

Watch: More than 20 people in Washington indicted after large-scale drug trafficking investigation 

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Nicholas County, West Virginia, man arrested for attempted murder after gunfight

Nicholas County, West Virginia, man arrested for attempted murder after gunfight

NICHOLAS COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — A West Virginia man was arrested and charged with attempted murder on Thursday after a gunfight started in a rented garage in Nicholas County, according to the West Virginia State Police.

According to WVSP, 75-year-old Paul Vencil “PJ” Morris Jr., of Kesslers Cross Lanes, went to the garage on Summersville Lake Road to confront James William “Billy” Stone. Troopers say this was over a two-year family dispute.

Morris and Stone then started shooting at each other, according to WVSP. Stone was shot multiple times and had to be flown to the hospital for treatment, and Morris was shot in the left arm.

Morris is being charged with one count of attempted murder and is being held in the Central Regional Jail.

This investigation is ongoing.

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Former coach in Stafford County accused of touching girl, having sexual conversation with her

Former coach in Stafford County accused of touching girl, having sexual conversation with her

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. (DC News Now) — Sheriff’s deputies said a man who was a volunteer basketball coach at Brooke Point High School is accused of having a sexually explicit conversation with a girl on a school bus and touching her inappropriately.

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) said that officers with the Fredericksburg Police Department arrested Tyler Trotter, 25, on March 21.

A girl said she was on the school bus for an away basketball game in February when Trotter sat next to her and started the explicit conversation with her, touching her, too.

The sheriff’s office said Wednesday (March 29) that Trotter no longer was coaching for Stafford County Public Schools.

SCSO asked anyone with information that could help its investigation to call (540) 658-4400.

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Cruz says wristbands smugglers use to track migrants are like 'leg irons'

Cruz says wristbands smugglers use to track migrants are like 'leg irons'

DHS secretary testifies he had no knowledge of colorful wristbands used by cartels

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Texas Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz earlier this week grilled Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for two minutes on wristbands that he says drug cartels use to mark the migrants they are illegally crossing from Mexico into the United States.

This was in reference to the same wristbands that Border Report two years ago reported were heavily found in the Rio Grande Valley, worn by family units after they crossed the Rio Grande into South Texas from northern Mexico.

“Along the southern border, you see thousands of these wristbands because the illegal immigrants wear them,” Cruz said during Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., in front of a giant poster with blown up colorful wristbands of purple, yellow, orange and white.

In this 12-photo composite photographed on Saturday, March 27, 2021, used bracelets lie on the ground after they were cast off by migrants once they arrived on U.S. soil in Roma, Texas, near the banks of the Rio Grande river. All of the arriving migrants wear numbered plastic wristbands that look like they could be used to get into a concert or amusement park, and everyone rips them off and tosses them on the ground after setting foot in the U.S. Large black letters on the wristbands read, “Entregas,” or “Deliveries,” apparently a mechanism for smugglers to keep track of migrants they are ferrying across the river that separates Texas and Mexico. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

“Every color corresponds to how many thousands of dollars they owe the cartels. You have turned these cartels into multibillion-dollar criminal organizations. And these are modern-day leg irons because these are children being sold into sex slavery,” Cruz said.

When asked about the wristbands, Mayorkas responded: “I don’t know what they are.”

That brought a tirade of criticism from Cruz who told Mayorkas, “You’re incompetent at your job.”

“Mr. Secretary, I want to say to you right now it is your behavior is disgraceful. And the deaths the children assaulted the children and raped, they are at your feet. And if you had integrity, you would resign,” Cruz said.

A wristband worn by a migrant brought illegally from Mexico into La Joya, Texas. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report File Photo)

When given the chance to later respond by the committee chairman, Mayorkas refused calling Cruz’ comments “revolting.”

The wristbands — like the kind given for carnival rides, or entrance to nightclubs or concerts — often bear the words “llegadas,” which means arrivals in Spanish; or “entregadas,” which mean delivered. Some read “entregas,” which mean deliveries.

The different wristband colors indicate how much they have paid; where they cross; if they have tried to cross before; and if this is their last time trying to get across without having to pay again, several officials have told Border Report.

It’s all part of a highly organized system the Mexican drug cartels use to mark and identify different groups of migrants they are smuggling into the United States.

A Border Patrol agent apprehends families of migrants on April 8, 2021, all who wore wristbands as they crossed into La Joya, Texas, from Reynosa, Mexico. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report File Photos)

Since a surge of immigrant families began crossing illegally in 2019 from northern Mexico into the Rio Grande Valley, these wristbands have been commonly found in areas where routes are known to bring in smugglers. The bracelets would litter parks and areas where Border Patrol come across those readily giving themselves up to law enforcement and claiming asylum in the United States.

But on Friday, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official said they aren’t seeing very many of these identifying bracelets anymore in the Border Patrol’s RGV Sector. And that could have to do with the fact that most migrants crossing illegally into this part of South Texas now are single adults, not families, who are crossing in other areas, like Del Rio and El Paso, Texas.

In February, there were a total of 114,189 encounters with undocumented migrants in the RGV Sector and 58%, or 67,241, were single adults. There were 23,756 families and 23,192 unaccompanied minors who crossed, according to CBP data.

That’s a huge change from the 489% increase in family units crossing into the RGV in Fiscal Year 2021 –over 52,000 — from Fiscal Year 2021, CBP reports.

And it’s significantly less than the 60,271 families that crossed into the El Paso Sector in February, or the 38,933 families who crossed into the Del Rio Sector in South Texas during that same time period, according to CBP.

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