Woman accused of trying to smuggle in Mexican teen

McALLEN — A Dallas woman accused of attempting to smuggle an undocumented minor from Mexico into the country was arrested at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge.

The woman remains in federal custody days after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested her attempting to pass off an undocumented minor as her nephew by using the birth certificate of a U.S. citizen born in Georgia, the criminal complaint filed against her states.

Joanna Gamez-Aguillon, 27, stood before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker on Thursday — one day after she was arrested for attempting to smuggle the 14-year-old — and faces one count of bringing in and harboring aliens.

Gamez-Aguillon’s five U.S.-born children were also with her and the undocumented teenager, the complaint states.

“(Gamez-Aguillon) claimed the child as her nephew, a United States citizen, and presented a state of Georgia birth certificate bearing the name of C.M.G. as proof,” the complaint read.

But officers, who noticed the 14-year-old appeared to be nervous and “unable to answer basic questions,” referred the group for a secondary inspection.

“In secondary, the defendant admitted to utilizing the birth certificate of another child to facilitate the illegal entry of Y.M.T.G., as she knew the child’s mother had purchased it illegally for $750.”

Gamez-Aguillon admitted to knowing the child was from Mexico and did not have legal status to be in the United States, the complaint states.

“For her services, the defendant was to receive $4,250 from the child’s mother,” the complaint states.

Gamez-Aguillon further stated the child, who is originally from Martinez de la Torre, Veracruz, was headed to Savannah, Georgia, where the child’s mother currently resides.

The next court date for Gamez-Aguillon was not known as of press time.