Search continues for ‘Perla’ in connection with migrants lured onto plane from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard

Migrants used as ‘political piñatas’, LULAC says about woman accused of luring migrants

SAN ANTONIO – The criminal investigation into who falsely promised free incentives to migrants in San Antonio who ended up at Martha’s Vineyard continues.

In September, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said nearly 50 migrants were “lured” on Sept. 14 at the city’s Migrant Resource Center on a plane to the Northeast vacation destination.

The League Of Latin American Citizens identified that individual as Perla Huerta. The group has offered a $10,000 reward that leads to the arrest of Huerta.

“When I was in Martha’s Vineyard interviewing the refugees, all I had was a name: Perla. We had no picture at that time, just a description,” said LULAC National President Domingo García. “Now we know her name is Perla Huerta. She is originally a graduate from San Antonio High School and a veteran of the military.”

Soon after his conversations with the migrants began, García and his team were able to find pictures of Huerta.

“We have pictures of her from her Facebook page, which we then show(ed) to the refugees. And they confirmed that it was her, García said. “And then we actually had one of the refugees give us a picture of her when they got on the plane to Martha’s Vineyard.”

However, investigating agencies, including the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, have not confirmed or identified any person of interest involved in the case. In a statement, a BCSO spokesperson said, “Any and all evidence that has been submitted to us regarding this investigation is being reviewed by the handling investigators.”

According to García, migrants told him they were offered work, money and other incentives in exchange for a signature on a form stating they voluntarily wanted to go to a different location.

“We filed a complaint with the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., because we believe several federal immigration and human trafficking laws might have been broken by this plot,” García said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has claimed credit for the two charter flights of migrants to Massachusetts.

“She was involved in this really cruel political plot by Governor DeSantis to use innocent refugees, you know, women and children as political props, political piñatas to score points. And so, she’s an important witness.”

Garcia’s hope is that Huerta and others involved are identified by authorities and found as soon as possible due to her alleged military background.

“She worked in counterintelligence in the military,” García said. “It was a covert operation, and they knew they had to do it in the shadows. And we’re worried that she might try to leave the country.”

LULAC now continues its efforts to spread awareness among migrants of the dangers in accepting free offerings from people.

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About the Authors

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.

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