South Texas officer accused of human smuggling on leave - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

South Texas officer accused of human smuggling on leave

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) - Prosecutors say a South Texas police officer has been charged with human smuggling after being caught among the dunes at Padre Island National Seashore during a Border Patrol search for immigrants.

Brownsville police Officer Valerie Rivas (REE'-vuhs) on Tuesday appeared in federal court in Corpus Christi and was released on a $20,000 unsecured bond. Brownsville police put Rivas on paid administrative leave.

A criminal complaint says Rivas dated a Mexican man who was supposed to be smuggled to Victoria but never showed up and she was looking for him. The complaint says Rivas, when located Feb. 26 by Border Patrol agents, was armed and identified herself as a police officer.

Agents earlier found her boyfriend.

Rivas attorney Micah Wayne Hatley said Wednesday that his is client is not guilty.

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