Texas Juvenile Probation Officer Accused of Migrant Smuggling near Border


Federal authorities arrested a juvenile probation officer from South Texas after discovering a migrant from Honduras hiding in the rear of his vehicle.

The incident took place this week near Laredo, Texas, when Pedro Alejandro Rodriguez was allegedly driving a gray Ford Escape and pulled up to a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint along Texas Highway 39.

On Thursday morning, Rodriguez appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge, who formally notified him of the charges against him and ordered the probation officer held without bond. Rodriguez further waived a preliminary hearing and asked for a court-appointed attorney.

According to court records filed by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, on Sunday, Rodriguez was wearing a badge from the Hidalgo County Juvenile Probation Office during the smuggling attempt. Rodriguez allegedly told authorities he was returning from a training event in Laredo when he pulled up to the checkpoint.

One of the USBP agents at the checkpoint noticed “a large quantity of air fresheners” in the vehicle. Shortly after, a police dog alerted agents to the vehicle’s rear cargo area, court records showed. The agents had Rodriguez open the rear door, and they discovered a Honduran migrant, identified as David Edgardo Rodriguez Maldonado, hiding under a black sheet.

During questioning, Rodriguez Maldonado told authorities that he had crossed from Mexico on a raft two days before and that his sister had made arrangements with human smugglers. The migrant thought he was in McAllen instead of near the Laredo area.

When federal agents tried to question Pedro Alejandro Rodriguez about his role in driving the migrant, he reportedly asked for an attorney and refused to answer any questions.