MILLS COUNTY, TX — The Mills County Sheriff's Office said they arrested a man for smuggling of persons after finding over a dozen illegal immigrants in a vehicle on their way to Georgia during a traffic stop last week.
Pedro Roda-Lucas, 21, was arrested for smuggling of persons, a third-degree felony, according to the Mills County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies said they stopped a White 2008 Yukon on US 84 east in Center City for a traffic violation at around 4:30PM on April 1.
According to the Mills County Sheriff's Office, deputies approached the vehicle and made contact with the driver who did not have a driver’s license.
"Deputies observed 21 men inside the vehicle and determined that all the individuals were from Guatemala and were in the United States illegally," the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post.
The deputies secured the individuals and began interviewing people with the help of the Texas Highway Patrol and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Wardens.
According to the Mills County Sheriff's Office, it was determined that everyone had paid to be brought to the United States and were on their way to Georgia.
All of the people except for the driver did not have any money or cellular phones because they had been taken away from them, the sheriff's office said.
The driver, 21 year old Pedro Roda-Lucas, admitted to smuggling the individuals and said he was to be paid $450 a person when they arrived in Georgia, according to deputies.
Cash and the vehicle were seized and the driver was placed under arrest for smuggling of persons, a third-degree felony.
"Deputies contacted the United States Border Patrol and were advised that because President Biden's new orders on immigration that they would not be taking them into custody," the Mills County Sheriff's Office said.
"We were told to let them go if we did not have any offenses against them."
The sheriff's office said the Fellowship Baptist Church came on location with vans and helped move the remaining 20 men to the church to provide them water and food as the deputies finished interviewing.
"I want to say thank you to Stewart Farrell and the members that showed up from the church to assist," the sheriff's office said in the post. "We greatly appreciate everything you did for these men and our law enforcement personnel."