Border Patrol on Tuesday arrested two people they said were running a Mission stash house where authorities found 39 people in the country illegally.
Pedro Morales-Hinojosa, a Mexican citizen born in 1963, and Osman Ariel Pineda-Paguada, a citizen of Honduras born in 1998, were charged with transporting and harboring people in the country illegally.
Border Patrol agents encountered the suspects after conducting surveillance on the Mission residence Wednesday and following a blue Chrysler 300 that departed the location.
The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office joined the investigation and approached the driver of that vehicle, later identified as Morales, in a store parking lot.
A criminal complaint said agents questioned Morales, who admitted to being in the country illegally.
“During the encounter, Morales answered a phone call and began to yell to the caller that he had been stopped by police. Morales was subsequently placed under arrest,” the complaint stated.
Morales’ passenger, a citizen of Honduras, was also arrested for being in the country illegally.
Agents and deputies went back to the stash house where they said Pineda briefly tried to run before being arrested, according to the complaint.
After knocking on the residence’s door, Border Patrol agents and deputies found 39 people in the country illegally.
Morales told investigators in a post-arrest interview that he had illegally crossed into the United States six months ago and agreed to harbor people to help pay his smuggling fee, according to Border Patrol.
“Morales added he still owes $4,500,” the complaint stated.
Border Patrol also interviewed Pineda after his arrest.
Pineda said he had been staying at the residence for approximately 40 days, according to the complaint.
“Pineda added he was eventually provided with a cellular phone where he would receive phone calls instructing him to open the gate or to feed the roosters. Pineda indicated that the male in charge of the roosters (later identified as Morales) would tend to the roosters and check on the (people),” the complaint stated.
Material witnesses in the case picked both Morales and Pineda out of lineups and identified them as caretakers, according to Border Patrol.
Both suspects had scheduled first appearances Friday morning in front of a federal magistrate judge.