A federal grand jury indicted a Brownsville man Wednesday accused of harboring a child taken from its mother by a brush guide who was smuggling immigrants last month.
Rodolfo Vente Jr. is charged with conspiracy to transport and harbor and harboring for financial gain.
The harrowing experience for the mother and federal agents who rushed to find the child unfolded during the early morning of June 18 when Border Patrol agents apprehended a woman named Maricruz Gonzalez-Gonzalez at around 4:15 a.m. who told them a brush guide took her son and crossed the border fence before they were arrested, according to a criminal complaint.
The charging document says Border Patrol directed all of its resources and assets to locate the 2-year-old who was taken from the woman near Monsees Road, including contacting Homeland Security Investigations for assistance.
However, the agencies were unable to locate the child and contacted the Brownsville Police Department for help.
Gonzalez-Gutierrez provided police officers with a phone number of the smuggler she hired to cross her, her husband, Hector Omar Gutierrez-Marquez, and the child, according to the criminal complaint.
Officers called the Mexican number several times before the person who answered provided them with a phone number of the person who might have the child, court documents indicate.
That number led authorities to Vente’s Southmost home where Brownsville police and HSI agents found the 2-year-old, according to the criminal complaint.
The charging document says Vente told investigators a man he only knows as Juan asked him to care for the child because his wife was in trouble, but Vente also didn’t know the child’s name and couldn’t provide Juan’s address.