Alice man arrested in Victoria on smuggling charges
April 25, 2014 at 10:01 p.m.
Updated April 24, 2014 at 11:25 p.m.
A 46-year-old man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of smuggling people for monetary gain.
Gregorio Santos Luera Jr., of Alice, was stopped while traveling north on U.S. 59 on suspicion of having an expired inspection sticker and defective middle raised brake light on the cab of his red 2004 Ford F-150, according to a criminal complaint by the Victoria County Sheriff's Office.
Luera left the highway and pulled over near a fence where four adult men fled the truck. Luera remained in the vehicle.
He told officers he was driving from Taft to Houston to attend his niece's quinceanera and picked up the men on the side of the road. Luera, however, was unable to provide a location for the birthday party or names and phone numbers for his relatives in Houston, according to the report.
Deputies found two of the four men who fled. They were identified as Joel Iriberto Lopez-Reyez and Pedro Raymundo-Velasco, both of Guatemala.
The arresting deputy recovered $1,100 in $100 bills inside Luera's wallet, according to the report.
Luera remained in the Victoria County Jail on Friday in lieu of a $40,000 bond.
The other men were released to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
According to court documents, Luera has previous convictions of burglarizing a building with intent to commit theft, theft, theft of property between $1,500 and $20,000, burglary of habitation, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, driving while intoxicated and driving while intoxicated with a child under 15 years of age.