A 19-year-old Granite Shoals man faces federal charges for alleged involvement in smuggling people across the United States-Mexico border.
On Sept. 13, Granite Shoals police responded to a call about a disturbance at a home, which turned out to only be an argument. While identifying the people at the residence, officers learned one of them, Nathaniel Torres, had a U.S. Marshals Service warrant out for him for smuggling immigrants into the country illegally.
Officers arrested Torres and booked him into the Burnet County Jail, where he is still being held.
The federal warrant stems from a Feb. 25 arrest by U.S. Border Patrol officers near Carrizo Springs. Agents arrested Torres and Santos Ovidio Castillo-Garcia “for conspiring to transport two illegal aliens further into the” United States, according to a federal arrest warrant.
According to the federal documents, Torres admitted to Border Patrol agents that he was paid $500 per immigrant.
Two witnesses identified Torres as the driver and Castillo-Garcia as the foot guide, according to the arrest warrant. The witnesses added that they had made “financial arrangements to be transported to Austin, Texas, for fees ranging from $2,500 (United States dollars) to $6,000 (United States dollars).”
Following his initial arrest, Torres, a U.S. citizen, was released on bond. According to U.S. District Court documents, he was arrested Aug. 2, 2020, for public intoxication in New Braunfels.
Federal officials issued another arrest warrant for Torres on Sept. 3.
Torres is scheduled to be sentenced on the smuggling charges Dec. 4 in U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, which has nine court locations across the state.