U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Comstock Station arrested a group of 16 undocumented immigrants, including an alleged alien smuggler.

“Transnational Criminal Organizations continue to exploit the humanitarian crisis on the border to smuggle immigrants who are attempting to evade detection,” said Del Rio Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent Louie W. Collins. “I commend our Border Patrol agents for thwarting this smuggling attempt.”On April 2, at approximately 2 a.m., Border Patrol agents arrested a group of 16 undocumented Mexican nationals after they illegally crossed the border near Comstock. They were transported to the Comstock Station for processing, during which agents determined one of the individuals had guided the rest of the group for profit.

Gabriel Cardenas-Richar, 56, of Mexico, faces federal prosecution on a charge of  8 USC § 1324 – conspiracy to transport illegal aliens – which carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison. He was turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations.

The rest of the of the group was processed per U.S. Customs and Border Protection guidelines.

A criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The Del Rio Border Patrol Sector is part of the Joint Task Force-West South Texas Corridor, which leverages federal, state and local resources to combat transnational criminal organizations. To report suspicious activity call the Del Rio Sector’s toll free number at 1-866-511-8727.