RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas — The Rio Grande City Police Department arrested one man on a human smuggling charge after investigators say he left a man to die after crossing the U.S./Mexico border.
According to officials, police found the body of 47-year-old Mauricio Zuniga Gamboa in brush on South Trophy Street in Rio Grande City on Wednesday.
Investigators learned from family members that Zuniga paid thousands of dollars to be transported into the United States by Jesus Gerardo Davila Jr., 21, and smuggler Fernando Martinez Perez, also known as “El Venado.”
Police state that during the smuggling attempt, Zuniga began to feel ill and injured his head while climbing a wall.
As Zuniga’s condition began to worsen, police state Davila and Martinez removed him from their vehicle and left him in the brush where investigators later discovered him.
According to police, Davila left Martinez at the Hidalgo Port of Entry and returned to Rio Grande City where he washed the inside of his vehicle.
Police arrested Davila Jr. for his connection in the crime and have charged him with a 1st-degree felony smuggling of persons and 3rd-degree felony tampering of physical evidence.
“At least four times [in the last month] we’ve been called out for bodies located,” said Noe Castillo, Rio Grande City Chief of Police. “That’s a person that someone left behind. That’s someone’s family member.”
The chief hammered down that these actions will not be tolerated.
“It’s not okay to leave people to die,” said Castillo.
There is still an active warrant for Fernando Martinez Perez. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call (956)487-8892