McALLEN — Wednesday raids in Alamo and Weslaco found 71 people who appeared to have been smuggled into the country and held – the women raped, an informant told authorities.
Federal authorities arrested Robert Lee Brouwen, Bernardino Martinez, Gonzalo Mosso and Paula Fernandez, suspecting them of running the stash house. U.S. District Judge Dorina Ramos notified them of their charges Friday and ordered they be held without bond until a detention hearing next week.
An informant tipped off the FBI on Wednesday to a house in the 400 block of Cameo Circle in Alamo, where the suspected smugglers were keeping a large number of people, according to court records.
The FBI coordinated with U.S. Border Patrol, Alamo police and University of Texas-Pan American police and raided the home in Alamo, where they found 56 people from El Salvador, Mexico and other countries, court records show.
At the house, authorities seized two ledgers that were used to keep track of the people brought to the house.
Law enforcement then headed to La Copa Inn near the intersection of Interstate 2/Expressway 83 and Tower Road in Alamo, where they went into rooms 223 and 224 and found 11 people.
From there, the agents went to a third location in the 6800 block of Bill Clinton Street in Weslaco and found four more people.
Brouwen was identified as the owner of the properties, while Martinez and Mosso were identified as the ones in charge of the houses and transporting the individual to Falfurrias so they could trek around the Border Patrol checkpoint. Fernandez was identified as the person is charge of cooking and caring for children at the house, court records show.
Alamo police were tasked with conducting the investigation into the rape allegations.