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Border Patrol agents thwart human smuggling attempt, arrest two child sex offenders in traffic stop near Freer

Both child sex offenders are being held by the U.S. Border Patrol pending prosecution of their immigration violations.
Credit: US Customs and Border Protection

FREER, Texas — Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents from the Freer station recently stopped a human smuggling attempt and arrested two child sex offenders in the same traffic stop, a press release from US Customs and Border Protection. 

Agents pulled over a commercial truck that was going down Highway 59 near Freer and found 119 people being smuggled in the back, officials said.

All individuals were illegally in the United State and were from the countries of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador, and Guatemala. 

While searching the vehicle, agents located and seized an unregistered loaded handgun that was found inside a backpack belonging to the driver.

When checking the records of the people, two came back to be child sex offenders, officials said. 

Placido Mercado-Campos, a 63-year old Mexican national, had been arrested in 1987 and convicted for Sexual Offense Against a Child Fondling in San Antonio, Texas, and was sentenced to three years confinement. His records further revealed an arrest for Indecent Exposure and a felony conviction for a Felon in Possession of a Weapon. 

Record checks on Ruben Ruiz-Jimenez, a 45-year-old Mexican citizen, revealed that he had been arrested in 2000 and convicted of Felony Child Sexual Contact in Houston, Texas, and sentenced to five years probation. 

Both Mercado-Campos and Ruiz-Jimenez are being held by the U.S. Border Patrol pending prosecution of their immigration violations.  

They will be remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service. 

 “Alien smugglers continue to underestimate the diligence of our agents and attempt to avoid detection by using ranch roads and more remote checkpoints," Laredo Sector Chief Patrol Agent Matthew Hudak said. "Their arrests are a clear indication that this strategy is not working for them.  Our agents remain vigilant and alert, regardless of the area they are patrolling.”

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