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No probable cause found to hold 140 migrants on state riot charges

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- El Paso County Court at Law 7 Judge Ruben Morales found no probable cause from the state of Texas to restrain 140 migrants in alleged riot events that happened on April 12th.

He dismissed all 140 cases against the migrants involved in an alleged riot at the U.S.-Mexico border near Riverside High School in El Paso's Lower Valley.

The El Paso Public Defender's Office originally petitioned the release of 142 migrants from state custody after they were arrested under these "riot participation" charges. One migrant was not in state custody and the other one will face other criminal offenses.

According to Chief Public Defender Childress, these migrants are still set to face federal charges of illegal entry into the U.S. and will be turned to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

This decision by Judge Morales does not mean that these migrants can't be charged with riot participation in the future. But the El Paso District Attorney's Office will have to indict them on these charges.

"What we're seeing is an effort to get the headline, to get get it on the news that 140 more migrants and they're using these inflammatory terms like breached the border and things like that, which are just false," said Public Defender Childress.

El Paso's District Attorney's Office Assistant D.A. Jennifer Vandenbosch declined to comment after today's hearing.

ABC-7 has reached out to the D.A.'s office to learn any comments from either D.A. Hicks or anyone else at this office. We have not heard back from them yet.

Public Defender Childress said during the hearing the state was making a "desperate attempt to harass migrants at the border."

"What we have here is these mass arrests that don't have probable cause," Childress added.

Article Topic Follows: On the Border

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Heriberto Perez

Heriberto Perez Lara reports for ABC-7 on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.


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