Dallas man arrested after Border Patrol finds man inside chained toolbox

A Dallas man was arrested at the Falfurrias checkpoint after Border Patrol agents found a person being smuggled inside a toolbox that was wrapped by a chain, according to a criminal complaint.

Robert Carlos Umana was charged with knowingly and with reckless disregard attempting to smuggle two people illegally present in the United States to Houston.

The complaint states that Umana arrived at the checkpoint around 3:10 a.m. on Saturday in his red Dodge Ram 2500 where he and his passenger were asked if they were U.S. citizens to which they replied that they were.

According to the document, Umana’s passenger replied in a “broken voice” and “remained stiff” in his seat.

“Plain view inspection of the interior of the truck revealed no luggage or backpacks,” the complaint said. “In the bed of the truck was a toolbox.”

Due to Umana and his passenger’s demeanor and the “irregularity of the appearance of the toolbox,” the agent inspecting the vehicle asked Umana for consent to get x-ray images of his truck.

The x-ray images revealed a person attempting to hide inside the toolbox, according to the complaint.

Once found, the man inside the toolbox admitted to being a Mexican national while Umana’s passenger revealed himself to be a citizen of the Dominican Republic.

During an interview with investigators, Umana stated he drove to Edinburg to meet with someone he had met on TikTok at a gas station where two small cars drove up next to him.

He said that a male individual loaded up the two unlawfully present people in his truck and told them to say they were going to San Antonio for a family emergency.

“Umana said he made arrangements with a person he has saved in the contacts list on his cell phone as ‘Pa El Compa,’” the complaint said.

Umana revealed he was going to be paid $2,500 to take the two men to Houston.

Contrary to what Umana said, the Dominican Republic citizen told authorities that Umana picked him and his travel companion at the house he arrived at when he crossed the Rio Grande.

He added that Umana told him to say yes when asked if he was a U.S. citizen and instructed the other man to get inside the toolbox where he remained for about an hour.

The other man stated he was picked up by a white pickup truck from the house he was staying at and driven to a gas station and was then loaded into the backseat of a maroon Dodge pickup truck.

In addition, he stated that the driver stopped at a house north of the gas station where there was a man who told him to get inside the toolbox of the Dodge pickup.

All three men appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchel Neurock for their initial appearance Monday morning in Corpus Christi federal court.