BCSO concludes investigations into migrant flights to Martha’s Vineyard, waits for grand jury decision

BCSO filed a criminal case with the Bexar County DA’s office in connection with the transportation of 49 migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard

SAN ANTONIO – Twelve months ago, BCSO filed a criminal case with the Bexar County district attorney’s office in connection with the transportation of 49 migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard chartered by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration.

On Friday, BCSO said they have concluded their investigations and are now waiting for a deliberation from a grand jury to learn if a felony offense has been committed.

“The information that we have to this day and what we believe occurred is that these folks were duped into getting on those planes,” said Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar.

Salazar said the 49 migrants were given a one-way ticket out of Texas under false promises.

“I think they were promised jobs, and ‘the answer to all your prayers’ and a place to live, and that ‘life will be so much better when we get to where we’re going,’” said Salazar.

“And some of them went on full panic mode because they realized everything they had been promised was, in fact, not there waiting for them,” said Salazar.

The sheriff says over the course of the last year, the migrants and witnesses in this case have been interviewed extensively over video. He says those interviews have been submitted to the DA’s office.

“So I was told, probably about a week or two ago, that those were completed, and then now they begin the process of getting them ready to present to the grand jury,” said Salazar.

In June, Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said the following in a statement:

“The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has now filed in our office a criminal complaint and the results of their investigation regarding the transport of migrants from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard Massachusetts.

“The complaint will undergo our normal and meticulous intake review. The process of determining whether enough evidence exists to charge anyone with a crime and convince a jury of Bexar County citizens “beyond a reasonable doubt” that a crime has been committed may be lengthy and labor-intensive under the best of circumstances.

“If a review of the facts reveals that a felony offense has been committed, we will present that case to a grand jury for their deliberation.

“As always, our review will be thorough, and our office will follow the law.”

The 49 migrants, mostly from Venezuela, could now potentially be eligible for permanent residence through a U-visa, which is given by the United States government to victims of crime.

“I hope they get their version of justice -- each and every one of them,” said Salazar.

About the Authors

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.

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