Thousands of National Guardsman are deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border to support U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in keeping people out of the United States, but at least one of them is allegedly working overtime to smuggle people in.
- California National Guard Pfc. Edward Jair Acosta-Avila has been charged with human trafficking as part of a scheme to smuggle several Mexican nationals into the United States, USA Today reported on Thursday.
- Acosta-Avila was reportedly arrested Saturday with three Mexican nationals in the back of his car who told law enforcement they “made smuggling arrangements and agreed to pay between $6,000 and $7,000 each to [be] smuggled into the United States,” per USA Today.
- “The soldiers were supposed to help agents prevent migrants from entering the United States illegally,” USA Today reported. “Instead, Private First Class Acosta-Avila hoped to profit from smuggling them past authorities, according to court documents.”
- Acosta-Avila, who had not been assigned to border duty as part of the now-unnamed Operation Faithful Patriot, was already facing administrative separation for being AWOL at the time of his arrest.
- This is the second incident involving a National Guardsman at the border this week. On Monday, Luis Carlos Ontiveros reportedly attempted to rape a fellow Guardsman in a Texas hotel.