ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Two men, including an active member of the U.S. Army, have been linked to a “transnational criminal organization” involved in smuggling immigrants through New Mexico, according to federal court documents.
A criminal complaint recently filed in U.S. District Court said Carlos Vives Feliciano and Albuquerque resident Gerald Espinoza helped transport groups of Mexican immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally from Columbus, N.M., to other locations.
Court documents said the men participated in different stages of the smuggling operation.
According to court documents, Feliciano is an active member of the U.S. Army and is stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, and admitted to helping at least five groups of immigrants for $2,500 a trip. The documents didn’t identify Feliciano’s rank in the Army.
The criminal complaint said Feliciano was recruited by a known smuggler whose “transnational criminal organization” specializes in smuggling immigrants based in Palomas, Mexico.
The documents said the men participated in different stages of the smuggling operation.
Documents show that Feliciano was arrested by Border Patrol agents in June after being stopped at a checkpoint in Truth or Consequences, N.M. Authorities said Feliciano had with him three immigrants who were in the country illegally.
Feliciano identified Espinoza as the man who connected the immigrants to their final destinations, according to the complaint.