BCSO releases names, charges of 7 ‘coyotes’ involved in south Bexar County human smuggling operation

26 migrants discovered on property in south Bexar County on Thursday afternoon

BEXAR COUNTY, Texas – The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has released the names and subsequent charges of seven people arrested for their alleged involvement with a human smuggling operation in south Bexar County.

After receiving a tip, BCSO discovered 26 migrants on a piece of property in the 2700 block of Oak Island Drive on Thursday afternoon.

The migrants were believed to have been transported in a false compartment underneath a flatbed trailer, lying on a metal grate a few feet above the road, Sheriff Javier Salazar said at a press conference.

The suspects, who are booked in the Bexar County Jail, and their charges are:

  • Abelardo Herrera, 39: (26) counts of human smuggling, engaging in organized criminal activity
  • Rafael Mendoza, 36: (26) counts of human smuggling, engaging in organized criminal activity
  • Cristobal Eduardo Deleon, 28: (26) counts of human smuggling, engaging in organized criminal activity
  • Jose Marvin Hernandez, 21: evading arrest
  • Mario Enrique Elizondo, 23: operating a stash house, engaging in organized criminal activity
  • Vanessa Castillo, 30: operating a stash house, engaging in organized criminal activity
  • Ismael Hernandez, 45: operating a stash house, engaging in organized criminal activity

Several vehicles driven by the suspects were seized by investigators.

Twelve of the 26 migrants were transported to a hospital on Thursday for minor injuries and heat-related illnesses. One of the migrants remains hospitalized for dehydration and cardiac arrest-related issues, the sheriff’s office said.

Of the 26 migrants, 20 were males, and six were females. Their ages ranged from 18 to 54.

Their countries of origin were Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela and Guatemala, the sheriff’s office said.

Related coverage on KSAT:


About the Author

Mason Hickok is a digital journalist at KSAT. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a communication degree and a minor in film studies. He also spent two years working at The Paisano, the independent student newspaper at UTSA. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys the outdoors, reading and watching movies.

Recommended Videos