La Joya woman who forced people into residence at gunpoint indicted

Natasha Caprize Martinez

A La Joya woman was indicted in early November for her role in a human smuggling operation where she is accused of forcing five people into a residence at gunpoint in 2021, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Natasha Caprize Martinez, 23, was charged with smuggling of persons with the likelihood of serious bodily injury or death and operation of a stash house.

Martinez was arrested on April 14, 2021, and was indicted on Nov. 3. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.

According to the affidavit, La Joya police received a call from an anonymous source who explained that they had observed a man, later identified as Frank Alaniz, 36, and Martinez force five people at gunpoint into their residence located at 924 S. Garza Street.

La Joya police officer Eric Posada arrived at the residence and observed Martinez escort an unknown male toward the back of the residence where there was “heavy brush,” the affidavit said.

Posada made contact with Martinez and asked her who the male she escorted to the back of the residence was and she said “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

At some point, La Joya police officer Sgt. Joel Villarreal arrived to assist Posada and they both detained Martinez and two other males, namely Cristobal Morales, 24, and Adrian Martinez, 27.

The affidavit states that Morales has an unloaded shotgun on his person.

When asked, Martinez gave the officers partial consent to search the home.

The officers were able to observe several wristbands colored green, black and purple which, according to the affidavit, are evidence of human smuggling. They also observed an identification card from Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

That same day, authorities executed a search warrant at the property.

Six people unlawfully present in the United States were found inside the residence and Martinez was arrested for smuggling of persons.

Once in custody, Martinez stated she knew there were unlawfully present people in the residence and explained that the property owner, her cousin, Alaniz, gave her consent to take care of her home while he was out of town, the affidavit said.

She added that she saw a white car passing by the street several times so she called her cousin, Morales, to be at the residence.

She stated that Morales was outside of the residence holding a shotgun while the unlawfully present people were inside.

Martinez made bail days after her arrest on $10,000 in bonds.