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EPPD: Suspect allegedly paid to smuggle Central Americans into U.S.

Officers responding to a shooting in Central El Paso arrested a man on human smuggling charges.

Police charged Martin Carbajal, 55, with Smuggling of Persons. Police said Carbajal was not involved in the shooting the officers were investigating.

The shooting was reported at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 on the 1100 block of Yandell. Police said a woman was wounded, but is expected to survive. Police did not say who shot the woman or whether they have a suspect.

Detectives with the Cross Border Crime Suppression Unit were called to assist in the investigation when undocumented immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador were found at the scene of the shooting, police said.

The investigation revealed both individuals “paid a large sum of money” to Carbajal so they could be smuggled into the U.S. An Honduran national identified in court documents as Douglas Torres said he was smuggled into the U.S., then transported to Carbajal’s home at 1109 E. Yandell #A. Torres allegedly told police he was being held at the home while arrangements were made to transport him to New York City.

A criminal complaint obtained by ABC-7 states Torres told investigators he paid $7,000 to be smuggled from Honduras to New York. Torres said he was being held in a room at Carbajal’s home with three other adults, the document states.

A second witness, identified in the criminal complaint as Julia Cruz Bernabe, told police she was a national of El Salvador smuggled into the U.S. Once in the country, Cruz Bernabe was allowed to stay at Carbajal’s home until she was transported elsewhere.

Carbajal was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility on a $10,000 bond.

Police said the investigations into the smuggling and shooting are on-going. It is not immediately clear if the undocumented immigrants were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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