EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Two Venezuelan nationals are facing smuggling charges in connection with a migrant stash house operation in Central El Paso.

U.S. Border Patrol agents spotted the two individuals driving a Dodge Ram pickup and a Dodge Journey SUV near Strauss Road in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, on Sunday. Members of the agency’s anti-smuggling unit caught up to one of the vehicles and conducted an immigration stop. The vehicle carried seven unauthorized Mexican nationals, the Border Patrol said in a statement.

The agents obtained information from the detainees that led them to the location of the second vehicle. It was found in a mobile home park across the state line in El Paso, where agents identified a trailer holding additional unauthorized migrants, the agency said.

“Within the stash house, agents located a total of 12 smuggled migrants, all Mexican nationals,” the statement said. “All the Mexican nationals were medically evaluated and processed accordingly.”

The second driver also was a citizen of Venezuela. The two drivers are facing federal smuggling charges, the Border Patrol said.

In a second incident involving smuggling activity in Southern New Mexico, Border Patrol agents on horseback on Friday morning spotted fresh footprints in the desert 1 mile north of the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. The agents followed the tracks to an area near the Santa Teresa Country Club and noticed a gold Chrysler 300 sedan packed with people.

The Chrysler drove toward the Texas state line and border agents called for aerial support. The aircrew spotted the vehicle along North Mesa Street and notified members of the anti-smuggling unit. The Chrysler stopped near Piedras Street and three individuals ran away. While the vehicle’s trunk was open, the anti-smuggling unit members observed multiple individuals laying down inside and attempted to conduct an immigration stop, federal court documents show.

The Chrysler took off and failed to yield to the agents, who decided not to pursue the vehicle, court records show.

The aircrew was able to pinpoint the location of the three people who exited the car at Piedras Street and border agents on the ground apprehended them. Other agents found the Chrysler near the corner of North Oregon and Arizona streets with two Mexican nationals in the front seat and three unauthorized migrants in the back and three more in the trunk.

U.S. Border Patrol agents from the horse patrol unit stand guard as U.S. President Barack Obama’s motorcade drives past on May 10, 2011 in El Paso, Texas. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images)

Federal agents took into custody Joaquin Adrian Alvarez Rodriguez and Luis Angel Germes Morales on migrant smuggling charges. The foreign nationals they allegedly were transporting were apprehended and one of those in the trunk necessitated medical care and was transported to a hospital.

According to court documents, Alvarez Rodriguez told federal officials that he knowingly picked up nine unauthorized migrants and was to be paid between $300 to $1,000 for transporting them to a stash house in El Paso.

Germes Morales also said he was aware the passengers in the Chrysler were in the country illegally and that he was promised payment of $350 for making sure they got to the stash house, court documents show.

Alvarez Rodriguez and Germes Morales acknowledged being in the United States illegally as well; Alvarez Rodriguez was previously deported from the United States, back in 2019, according to court records.

The two men face monetary penalties and up to 10 years in federal custody if convicted.