U.S. Customs and Border Protection Press Release
EL PASO, TEXAS -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operation officers working at the El Paso port of entry have arrested two alien smugglers. The pair were involved in a recent child smuggling case which resulted in the discovery of an abandoned child on El Paso's west side earlier this month. CBP officers arrested 23-year-old Brian Joshua Mayorga and 23-year-old Valerie Galindo in connection with the case. Both are U.S. citizens and residents of El Paso.
“CBP officers at the El Paso port of entry worked hard to use all the tools at their disposal and connect the clues to identify and then arrest the two people who smuggled this baby across the border,” said Beverly Good, CBP El Paso port director.
The incident began at approximately 3:30 p.m. May 15 at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing when CBP officers detained 26-year-old Mayra Selene Lazos. She arrived as a pedestrian and presented a Colorado driver license with a different name however CBP officers believed she was making a false claim for U.S. citizenship. CBP officers did a fingerprint scan and learned that she was actually wanted on an active NCIC warrant out of Colorado for failure to appear.
CBP officers took Lazos into custody at which point she advised CBP officers that her baby had been smuggled into the U.S. through the port of entry shortly before her arrival. CBP officers made detailed attempts to locate the child including searching the immediate area, contacting relatives, alerting area Border Patrol checkpoints, and monitoring media. CBP learned through the media that an abandoned child had been located in El Paso. CBP contacted the El Paso Police Department and Child Protective Services regarding the case. The agencies were eventually able to confirm the baby found in El Paso was the subject's daughter.
At the same time CBP officers were working to identify the people who smuggled the child through the port of entry. Using information provided by the mother of the child and reviewing border crossing records and associated information CBP officers successfully identified two people who were involved in the case. CBP determined that the pair entered as pedestrians at the Bridge of the Americas May 15 and used a birth certificate to claim U.S. citizenship for the infant.
On May 22, CBP officers working at the Paso Del Norte crossing encountered Brian Joshua Mayorga as he drove a vehicle from Mexico to the U.S. He was the sole occupant of the vehicle. CBP officers queried his information and noted that CBP had identified him as being involved in the child smuggling episode. CBP officers took him into custody. He was arrested on alien smuggling charges.
On May 24 CBP officers working at the Ysleta international crossing encountered Valerie Galindo as she drove a vehicle from Mexico to the U.S. She was accompanied by her infant daughter and an adult male subject. CBP officers queried her information and noted that CBP had identified her as being involved in the child smuggling episode. CBP officers took her into custody. She was arrested on alien smuggling charges. The adult male was allowed to enter the U.S. The infant child was turned over to a relative of Galindo.
The manner in which the child was abandoned on a west El Paso street remains under investigation.
“This incident should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone who is considering placing their child in the hands of unknown smugglers,” said Good. “The potential for a tragic ending was high but fortunately the innocent child survived this incident.”