South Texas Human Smuggler Charged With Assaulting Border Patrol Agent

A suspected human smuggler from South Texas faces federal charges for allegedly shooting at U.S. Border Patrol agents who attempted to apprehend him in a brushy area near the border last week. Rafael Arriazola has been charged with assaulting a federal officer and transporting illegal migrants.

According to a federal criminal complaint filed in Brownsville, Texas, a group of migrants from Mexico crossed the Rio Grande and became lost in the brush. After two days, one migrant sought help at a nearby trailer. The woman inside contacted her son, Arriazola, who offered to assist the migrant in reaching a relative’s house in Donna.

Arriazola allegedly armed himself with a handgun before accompanying the migrant to search for the others. When U.S. Border Patrol agents tried to apprehend the pair, the migrant surrendered, but Arriazola reportedly yelled at authorities that he would “send them to hell” and fired shots at one of the agents as he fled.

The FBI responded to the scene and, following a brief investigation, identified and arrested Arriazola on May 22 in Progreso. U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Betancourt ordered Arriazola to be held without bond pending further hearings. He is expected to remain in federal custody awaiting trial.