Guardsman charged with smuggling migrants into US

U.S. Border Patrol agents and members of the military pass concertina wire during a tour of the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego. (Associated Press)

A California National Guardsman was arrested earlier this month for allegedly smuggling migrants into the United States for money.

Private First Class Edward Jair Acosta-Avila was pulled over in San Diego, about two miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, USA Today reported.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials arrested Acosta-Avila and four other individuals – including a U.S. citizen and three undocumented Mexican nationals who were hiding under a blanket in the back seat, the report said.

Acosta-Avila told authorities that he and the U.S. citizen were going to split $400 for shuttling the three Mexican nationals into the U.S., according to the report. But the three men told authorities they agreed to pay between $6,000 and $7,000 each to enter the U.S., the report said.

Acosta-Avila and the U.S. citizen were charged in federal court with human trafficking. The Mexican nationals will serve as witnesses in the case, San Diego’s Fox 5 reported.

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Acosta-Avila was reportedly not part of the 7,000 troops that President Trump ordered to various points at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Army Times reported.

The bulk of the troops are currently in Texas -- hundreds of miles away from the caravan that started arriving this week in Tijuana on Mexico's border with California -- after walking and hitching rides for the past month.

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