Two men charged in suspected human smuggling operation

12 undocumented immigrants found at South Side motel last month

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SAN ANTONIO – Two men charged with transporting undocumented immigrants will face a federal judge this week in San Antonio.

Luis Rios-Basaldu and Alfonso Basaldu-Calvo are accused of being involved in a human smuggling operation last month.

The men, who are in the country illegally, allegedly picked up 12 undocumented immigrants who were hiding in the brush off Southwest Loop 410 near Freeport Road on March 27, according to a federal affidavit.

Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations San Antonio were alerted to a suspicious black Chevrolet Malibu that crossed the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Laredo. The agents followed the car to a Walmart off I-35 near Palo Alto Road and then to the Love’s Travel Stop in Von Ormy.

Investigators said that’s where the driver in the Malibu met up with three other vehicles. Later on, Rios-Basaldu and Basaldu-Calvo also showed up at the truck stop and convenience store in two separate vehicles, according to the affidavit.

According to investigators, the men then drove to the pickup location near Freeport Road where the undocumented immigrants ran into the two vehicles. Rios-Basaldu and Basaldu-Calvo then allegedly drove the immigrants to the Nogalitos Motel.

According to the affidavit, Basaldu-Calvo admitted to taking part in the smuggling operation. He said his cousin, Rios-Basaldu, asked him to go to San Antonio with him to pick up the undocumented immigrants. They checked into a room at the Nogalitos Motel a day before the scheduled pickup.

One of the undocumented immigrants admitted that they were smuggled to San Antonio in a tractor-trailer earlier in the day and dropped off along a highway.

All 12 undocumented immigrants, in addition to Rios-Basaldu and Basaldu-Calvo, were taken to University Hospital after one of them appeared to have a contagious disease. The undocumented immigrants were eventually released and taken to the La Salle County Regional Detention Center.

 It does not appear that the other people involved in the smuggling operation were arrested.

Rios-Basaldu and Basaldu-Calvo are scheduled for a detention hearing on Wednesday.

About the Author:

Brina is the Executive Producer of the NightBeat and KSAT Explains. She has been with KSAT since 2015. She is a Houston native and proud to call San Antonio home.