Woman charged in connection with human smuggling attempt

A Pharr woman claimed a man threatened her with a gun to transport two women who were later determined to be in the country without legal authorization, records show.

Ruby Jo Davila faces federal smuggling charges in connection with her Oct. 22 arrest in Starr County after authorities found her transporting people who did not have authority to be in the country legally, according to the federal complaint against her.

U.S. Border Patrol agents pulled over 29-year-old Davila, a U.S. citizen, shortly after agents observed three people, a male and two females, board a gray sedan on a street located less than three blocks from the river in Roma, the complaint states.

“The vehicle stopped without incident and agents identified the driver as Ruby Jo Davila, a United States citizen. The three passengers located in the rear passenger seat of the sedan were determined to be illegally present in the (U.S.),” the court record shows.

Davila, after her arrest, told agents she was in Roma because a relative had purchased a home in the area.

She claimed that a (man) walked out to her car with a gun and demanded a ride, or give up her car.

Davila stated the man got in her car and told her to wait for two women — she claimed that she cooperated because the man had a gun.

Agents searched the passengers, a man from Honduras, and two women from Guatemala, but found no weapons.

All three foreign nationals were interviewed and gave similar statements, in which they stated Davila told them to say she was merely giving the trio a ride.

Davila, who was identified as the driver of the sedan by all three passengers, told officers that the man had a gun. No gun was found, according to the complaint.

On Tuesday, during a morning bond and detention hearing, after the government stated it did not oppose a bond for Davila, the court agreed to grant Davila a $35,000 unsecured bond with the standard bond restrictions, including travel, court notes show.

If convicted, the woman faces between five and 10 years in prison.