Criminal charges have been dropped against 11 illegal migrants who allege they were taken to private property where they were arrested for trespassing in Val Verde County, Texas, The Texas Tribune reported on Tuesday.
The migrants told Democratic Val Verde County Attorney David Martinez that they were apprehended, restrained with zip ties, walked for about 20 minutes then led to a fenced-in ranch where they were arrested by border officials for trespassing, according to The Texas Tribune. The migrants allege border officials forced them to scale a 10-foot fence then cut the fence to let a police dog onto the property.
The illegal migrants were said to have fled on foot after Border Patrol agents stopped the vehicle they were in, according to the Tribune. Martinez dismissed the charges on Monday as there was no written report or video evidence of the incident.
Texas state and local law enforcement officials helped a group of migrants cross over a barbed wire fence and line of train tracks after they illegally entered the U.S. near La Joya, Texas on March 25, 2021. (Kaylee Greenlee – Daily Caller News Foundation)
A Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) spokesperson said the illegal migrants attempted to elude police by scaling the fence. A Border Patrol spokesperson said the accusation that agents transported the migrants to private property to stage an arrest is “absolutely false,” according to the Tribune.
The migrants were arrested as part of Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star which directs law enforcement officials to target both human and drug trafficking at the southern border. The group had spent two months at a state prison prior to their hearing.
Martinez has dropped charges against the migrants due to a lack of evidence and has dismissed or rejected over 100 trespassing cases since Abbott’s “catch and jail” directive was announced, according to the publication.
Nearly 60 migrant men plead guilty to trespassing charges brought by Martinez while he also threw out 123 of the 231 trespassing cases the DPS submitted to him.
Some 1,300 migrants have been arrested under Abbott’s directive, some were transferred to Customs and Border Protection custody for processing, while others after serving 15-days in jail have been sent to Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities.
While in federal custody, the Migrants may potentially be deported or released into the U.S. pending an immigration hearing, according to the Tribune.