HORIZON CITY, Texas -- A Horizon City man was arrested during a raid by federal agents on accusations of operating a "dangerous" human smuggling network, authorities said Tuesday.
Homeland Security officials said 47-year-old Roberto Benavidez was the target of a year-long investigation by federal authorities. During that time, Benavidez allegedly harbored and transported more than 100 non-citizens in tractor-trailers throughout the U.S.
His arrest came after agents last week executed federal search warrants on two area properties they said were used to "facilitate human smuggling activity." During the raids, authorities said they seized more than $27,000 and found 37 undocumented migrants from countries including Honduras, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and El Salvador.
According to court documents obtained by ABC-7, Benavidez is said to have used two truck yards owned by companies listed under his wife's name, along with two local hotels, to keep and transport migrants.
“Human smugglers are callous individuals who are driven by greed with total disregard for the health and safety of the people they exploit and endanger,” said Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Taekuk Cho. “HSI will continue to work tirelessly utilizing our broad authorities alongside our partners to combat smuggling networks responsible for this dangerous and often deadly activity.”