The driver of a van carrying eight illegals is facing a federal charge in Chattanooga.
Gervacio Gaspar Montejo is charged with transporting illegal aliens.
On March 5, Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Cory Stewart reported a vehicle stop in progress that he believed to be a possible alien smuggling load. The vehicle was a 2007 Chevrolet Suburban which he had stopped at I-24 eastbound mile marker 141 for violation of registration law due to the date of registration on the vehicle license tag being covered and not openly visible.
Agents and officers from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrived on the scene at approximately 3:30 p.m. and took custody of the driver and eight passengers.
Agents conducted interviews of each of the eight passengers from the Chevy Suburban. All occupants other than the driver admitted to having recently crossed the United States border illegally and to traveling from a safe house in Houston to various places, including Atlanta and New York City.
Of the eight occupants, six claimed to have paid for their smuggling fees from Guatemala to Houston before their departure. One occupant said that he paid the driver of the suburban $600 for transport from the house the smugglers were holding him in Houston with the understanding he would owe another $400 upon arrival to his destination.
Agents checked out two cell phones belonging to the driver. Using the phones, they said they were able to tie the phones to as many as six human smuggling cases.
Montejo, who is also from Guatemala, had $2,500 in his shoe.
Upon a personal search of MONTEJO, SA Mullins
Agents said Montejo finally admitted he would pay the persons at the house where the smuggled aliens were being held, also known as a "stash house," to "release" the smuggled aliens to himself to be transported to various U.S. cities. He would then accept payment of between $200 and $400 depending on the distance the smuggled alien required for their respective travels.
Montejo had one felony conviction in California, it was found.
He was deported in 2012.