HEMPSTEAD COUNTY, AR (TXK Today) – A Honduran man allegedly in the U.S. illegally appeared Thursday before a federal judge in Texarkana on charges of transporting illegal aliens.
Gustavo Adolfo Pavon-Castro, 29, was pulled over Aug. 9 by an Arkansas State Trooper around 8:30 a.m. as he drove a Toyota sport utility vehicle along Interstate 30 in Hempstead County, Ark., near Hope. The trooper suspected Pavon-Castro and his eight passengers, several of them juveniles, were in the U.S. illegally, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed Thursday in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas. Trooper Steve Roberts noticed that there was no luggage in the vehicle despite its occupants mostly all bearing identification from foreign countries.
One of the juveniles told a Homeland Security investigator that his father had paid $8,000 to a smuggler to get him from his home in Honduras to Pennsylvania. Another juvenile told the investigator his family paid $8,000 for transport from Honduras to Virginia. Both identified Pavon-Castro as the Toyota’s only driver.
Pavon-Castro allegedly told investigators he is from Honduras and has lived for three years in Houston without authorization from immigration authorities. He allegedly was paid $300 to drive the illegal immigrants from Houston to Mississippi.
Pavon-Castro stood with Federal Public Defender Bruce Eddy for an initial appearance Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ross appeared for the government. Pavon-Castro is being held in the Miller County jail.