A computer glitch in a prison affects arrests made in a smuggling operation
2 mins read

A computer glitch in a prison affects arrests made in a smuggling operation

Those who were treated for heat-related problems have been discharged from the hospital.

SAN ANTONIO – Justice is moving very slowly in the case of six men and one woman arrested and charged with involvement in a large human smuggling operation uncovered last week in southern Bexar County.

Authorities say more than 20 migrants were found crammed into a hidden compartment in the chassis of a gooseneck trailer.

“We immediately started worrying, what are our health conditions?” Sheriff Javier Salazar said when they were found last Thursday.

Ambulances from several different agencies rushed to provide care to those suffering from heat-related problems.

A radio transmission from the triage area announced, “Prepare for 20 patients with heat exhaustion and other unknown injuries,” while a paramedic said, “I’m going back for ice bags and body bags for cooling.”

Although the arrests were made last Thursday, the defendants’ names did not appear in records until two full days later – the result of a massive upgrade to the Bexar County Justice System computer system.

On Monday, KENS 5 was able to confirm that all seven people caught in the raid are still behind bars at the Bexar County Jail. Online records show that if the three suspects, who face 26 counts of people smuggling, were granted $1.3 million bail, they would still have to abide by additional release conditions, including full house arrest, no contact with the victims and banning guns.

So far, information available online indicates that everyone is still waiting for the indictment and no trial dates have been set yet.

Meanwhile, on Monday morning, University Hospital confirmed that all people admitted for heat-related illnesses had already been discharged.

The sheriff said smugglers and people whose lives are in danger could be anywhere.

“In some cases, these guys are hiding in plain sight,” Salazar said. “In other cases, they go unnoticed. We would take this as an opportunity to remind everyone: If you have information about a smuggling operation, please call us at 210-335-6000.”

The arrested suspects who are in custody are:

  • 39-year-old Abelardo Herrera: 26 counts of human smuggling and participation in organized criminal activities
  • 36-year-old Rafael Mendoza: 26 counts of human smuggling
  • 28-year-old Cristobal Eduardo Deleon: 26 counts of human smuggling and participation in organized criminal activities
  • 21-year-old Jose Marvin Hernandez: One count of evading arrest
  • 23-year-old Mario Enrique Elizondo: Person smuggling and participation in organized criminal activity
  • Vanessa Castillo, 30: Operating a safe house and engaging in organized criminal activity (on parole and pre-trial detention without bail)
  • Ismael Hernandez, 45: runs a safe house and engages in organized criminal activity

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