Brewster County Rancher Charged With Harboring Illegal Immigrants

Brewster County Rancher Charged With Harboring Illegal Immigrants

By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

BREWSTER COUNTY - A West Texas rancher is in trouble with the law after he was caught harboring illegal immigrants.

Lyndell Shackelford of Brewster County faces charges of alien harboring. That's after he was caught sheltering a group of illegal Mexican citizens.

According to the criminal complaint, on March 21, Border Patrol agents caught three immigrants who said they were hired to work for Shackelford on his ranch, the Dead Horse Mountain Ranch near Marathon.

The immigrants also said they were staying in Shackelford's bunkhouse on the ranch.

A Homeland Security investigation later found out that each immigrant was paid over $1,000 for their work over the course of several months. The investigation also revealed that Shackelford knew the immigrants were undocumented and he would drop them off and pick them up on the border when needed.

Shackelford was arrested on March 26.

In light of Shackelford's arrest, NewsWest 9 was curious to see what other ranchers on the border see in regards to illegal immigrant activity.

Bill Miller, who has a ranch 10 miles from the river, says most immigrants cross through his land during the night.

"We see their tracks and we see their signs and we visit with the Border Patrol. We know when they catch somebody and when they don't. About the only time we really see somebody is if somebody gets in trouble," said Miller.

Miller says he's only encountered immigrants when they get injured or need some help.

"I've got 15 dogs. Two great, big, white guardian dogs that run around here at night. They don't come by here. If they do, I know they're coming," Miller said.

What Miller's noticed recently is more human smuggling than in the past.

"Before it was all narcotics. Now, we might be seeing some human smuggling," said Miller.

Brewster County Judge Dwight Goains ordered Shackelford's release on a $10,000 bond.