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    AZ - Border agents accuse woman of smuggling 2-year-old

    Posted: Jun 07, 2012 5:10 PM PDT Updated: Jun 07, 2012 7:48 PM PDT
    By John Ames
    Tucson News Now

    DOUGLAS, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

    A woman accused of smuggling a 2-year-old child into the United States was arrested in Douglas Tuesday.

    According to a news release from the U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Abigail Meraz Valezuela, 20, was pushing a stroller with a young child when agents at the Douglas Port of Entry became suspicious.

    They determined that she was attempting to smuggle the 2-year-old boy for monetary gain, the release said, and they arrested her and charged her with alien smuggling.

    Border agents accuse woman of smuggling 2-year-old - Tucson News Now
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    Toddler drugged during border-smuggling try, officials say
    by Cassondra Strande on Jun. 08, 2012
    Tucson News

    The mother of a 3-year-old Mexican boy and another woman are facing charges after an apparent border-smuggling attempt in Arizona involving the toddler, who apparently was drugged with two types of medicine, authorities said.

    Abigail Meraz Valenzuela, who is a U.S. citizen, is accused of trying to cross through a pedestrian point of entry in Douglas on Tuesday with the child, who was apparently sleeping in a stroller, said Edith Serrano, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

    When she was flagged for secondary questioning, she admitted trying to take the boy across the border illegally and giving him a teaspoon of a drug similar to Tylenol, adding that the mother’s sister had given the boy a drug similar to Benadryl, according to federal documents.

    In addition, the toddler’s mother, Arleth Chalchi-Morales, who is a Mexican citizen, also admitted giving the boy an unknown amount of the Tylenol-like drug before handing him off to Valenzuela, according to the documents.

    Officers were unable to wake up the boy, Serrano said, so he was taken to a hospital. His condition Friday was not immediately known.

    Chalchi-Morales, who is accused of conspiring to bring a minor across the international border illegally, paid Valenzuela $1,300 to transport the toddler across the border and meet the boy’s family in Phoenix, documents show.

    Valenzuela is accused of using her nephew’s birth certificate to sneak the boy in, which is not unusual, Serrano said.

    He said has seen families with young children use similar tactics in order to keep the children out of the treacherous summer heat of Arizona’s deserts.

    Toddler drugged during border-smuggling try, officials say - News from The Arizona Republic
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