Edinburg man arrested for trying to smuggle 32 people crammed in RV

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An Edinburg man who was arrested Tuesday, Aug. 29 for attempting to smuggle nearly three dozen people in an RV through the Falfurrias checkpoint changed his story several times and couldn’t remember some details because he was high on methamphetamine, according to a criminal complaint.

What is known, however, is that some of the people he was transporting said they were in danger due to how hot it was inside the vehicle.

Marco Antonio Gonzalez was arrested for knowingly and recklessly trying to transport 32 people who were illegally in the United States.

At around 9:45 p.m., Gonzalez entered the checkpoint in a white Chevrolet 3500 pickup truck hauling a recreational vehicle.

When asked where he was going, Gonzalez stated he was heading back to work in Odessa.

He was then referred to secondary inspection due to a K-9 alert.

U.S. Border Patrol agents were told that the keys to the RV were in the center console, but weren’t able to find them. When asked again, Gonzalez said he didn’t know where the keys were.

That’s when agents noticed condensation on the RV windows as well as body odor.

An X-ray of the vehicle revealed multiple people in the RV, according to the complaint.

“The RV was escorted to the sallyport and agents broke the window of the RV to remove the subjects,” the complaint stated.

Agents discovered 32 people from Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Honduras of which two were children accompanied by their mother.

In addition, agents found that the RV didn’t have light, water, restrooms, air conditioning and no phones for the people on board to call for help.

Gonzalez spoke to investigators the following day.

Initially, Gonzalez told the agents he had recently been released from jail, got his old job back as supervisor for an oil company in Odessa and had been working for a week or two.

When asked how he obtained the RV and truck, Gonzalez said the RV belonged to his boss’ son who had allegedly been arrested and the truck belonged to Gonzalez’s cousin. The three knew each other from work, according to Gonzalez.

He then signed a consent form for search electronic devices service and was taken back to his cell, that is before knocking on the glass a short time later to ask if he could clear some things up.

Gonzalez reiterated his story and stated that his girlfriend’s drug dealer asked him to do him a favor for a man named Flaco.

According to Gonzalez, Flaco’s son had been arrested and owed a favor, so he asked Gonzalez if he could drive a travel trailer to Odessa for him to which he agreed.

Gonzalez said he didn’t know there were people in the RV and that Flaco paid him $200 for moving the trailer.

Later that same morning, Gonzalez retold his story a third time stating that his neighbor named Flaco introduced him to a drug dealer, also named Flaco whose son owed a debt and asked Gonzalez to help for a $200 reward.

Gonzalez said he was later taken to an unidentified apartment complex in McAllen by his neighbor Flaco to pick up the truck and the attached RV.

When asked where the apartments were, Gonzalez said he forgot the location because he had injected methamphetamine around 7 or 8 p.m. prior to his arrest, according to the complaint.

One of the people found inside the RV stated that they could feel their heart pumping fast due to the heat and added that they couldn’t withstand 30 more minutes inside the RV.

Another person stated that they feared for their life.

Gonzalez’s bond was set at $10,000 and is scheduled to appear before U.S Magistrate Judge Julie K. Hampton for his preliminary examination and detention hearing later this week.