Woman accused of smuggling 24 people in East Texas indicted by federal grand jury

Crime & Public Safety

Photo (Gregg County Jail)

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A woman accused of smuggling two dozen people and was arrested in East Texas has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Tyler.

Online court documents reveal Maria Lopez, 46, was indicted Thursday, October 21 on three counts of “transporting certain aliens for commercial advantage or private financial gain.”

Back on October 4, a Suburban was pulled over in the middle of the night by Cherokee County Sheriff deputies near Rusk.

All the people inside the car were found to be illegal immigrants, other than Lopez. The immigrants are originally from Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras. Lopez allegedly picked them up in Houston and was driving them to Mississippi and Florida for compensation.

According to CSCO, it was revealed that Lopez allegedly assisted in smuggling 12 other loads of illegal immigrants into the U.S.

“It’s not something we catch often, but it happens often,” Sheriff Brent Dickson said. He added that it wasn’t clear exactly what they were doing in East Texas.

Upon further investigation, authorities found Lopez in possession of controlled substances XTC and methamphetamine, both first-degree felonies.

Lopez has a hearing scheduled for Wednesday in Tyler at 11:00 a.m. Records show she is currently being housed in the Gregg County Jail.

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