2 arrested on suspicion of smuggling 13 immigrants from South Texas to Houston by plane, Texas DPS says

Two people are in custody on suspicion of smuggling 13 immigrants from south Texas to Houston. (Texas Department of Public Safety)

WESLACO, Texas – Officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety arrested several people aboard a charter flight on suspicion of smuggling 13 immigrants to Houston.

Just after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, DPS troopers spotted a group of individuals being dropped off at the ramp at South Texas International Airport in Edinburg where it was reported there was suspicious activity within the group inside the airport, according to officials in a Facebook post.

One of the suspects, who chartered the plane, was contacted by a DPS pilot and allegedly told them that he and his group were oil workers traveling to Houston for a baseball game. Officials said when the pilot asked for an ID, the group attempted to flee on foot.

As the group fled, the DPS pilot was then struck by an oncoming SUV. He suffered minor injuries.

Both DPS troopers and special agents have taken both suspects into custody after discovering they allegedly attempted to smuggle 13 people -- eight men and five women -- by plane to Houston, officials said.

29-year-old Andreina Felix, of the Dominican Republic, was charged with smuggling of persons and aggravated assault on a public servant. She is booked into Hidalgo County Jail. It was unclear at the time if Felix was part of the group.

The pilot of the chartered plane, 40-year-old Maximo Diaz Jorge, was transported to an area hospital after officials said he experienced a medical emergency.

No additional arrests were made. No injuries were reported.

The 13 people, who migrated from the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, were referred to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Texas DPS’ Criminal Investigations and the Texas Rangers are still investigating the incident.


About the Author:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 2, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.