The man suspected of smuggling 12 immigrants is being charged with a state felony instead of referring the case to federal authorities.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus says he made the decision to turn the case over to the state after assessing the situation.
“I was there for probably a good hour and a half and made the decision that we would handle this at the state level.”
After Police interviewed the 12, they were released.
“We have no jurisdiction to hold them. So they were released to Catholic Charities.”
The Chief says the immigrants were all well fed and hydrated and were no apparent medical issues. He says the Department came up with an agreement with Catholic Charities to enlist their help when human smuggling cases are uncovered. A deal that was struck after a similar incident in July of last year where 10 immigrants brought to Texas illegally suffocated in the back of a truck.
On December 23rd, Police were told that a truck with several people inside was parked on an east side street. An Officer checked out the report and found the 10 men and two women. So far the only person charged with anything is the truck driver, Herbert Alan Nichols of Houston. He was arrested and charged with smuggling persons.