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Court documents detail Salinas 'dreamers' alleged human smuggling

Salinas Dreamer arrested after...

YUMA, Ariz. - UPDATE: 2/14/2018 12:57 p.m. ICE spoke out, following a press conference held by the family of a Salinas DACA recipient who was arrested in Yuma, Arizona.

According to a complaint filed by the border patrol in Arizona district court, officials said 26-year-old Saul Rodea Castro helped four Mexican nationals escape a lemon grove in a pickup truck, while another person distracted border patrol officials.

An ICE spokesperson told KION: Saul Rodea-Castro, a citizen and national of Mexico, was arrested on federal charges upon his release from federal custody, he was transferred to ICE custody. Mr. Rodea does not have lawful status in the U.S. and has been placed in removal proceedings. An immigration judge will determine whether he has a legal basis to remain in the U.S."

Rodea-Castro has not entered a plea in the case, according to the U.S. attorney's office for the district of Arizona.

 

PREVIOUS STORY:  2/12/2018 2:55 p.m. The family of a Salinas DACA recipient is speaking out after Immigration and Customs Enforcement picked him up after he was arrested and released in Arizona for allegedly smuggling undocumented immigrants across the border. 

Saul Rodea Castro is accused of trying to smuggle four Mexican Nationals across the border.

Castro’s younger sister said he’s been portrayed as a criminal but that it’s far from the truth.

"He's a very cheerful person, he loves to laugh, and a very good person,” said Castro’s sister.

Border patrol picked up the 26-year-old Salinas DACA recipient on January 29 after he was caught allegedly trying to smuggle four people across the border in Yuma, Arizona. That case is being handled by the federal public defender’s office in Pheonix.

During a federal court hearing, a U.S. magistrate judge released him on his own recognizance and he was free to go.

"Shortly thereafter, U.S. Immigration officials detained Mr. Rodea Castro and transported him to a detention facility in Florence Arizona, he is now being held in the Eloy, Arizona detention facility awaiting for his immigration custody hearing. No date has yet been set but I will be representing Mr. Rodea Castro in respect to that hearing,” said Immigration Attorney, Blanca Zarazua.

Rodea Castro's sister said he works as a supervisor for a Salinas Ag company and that his job brings him to Yuma. He was last here in the middle of January to renew his DACA, which is set to expire on March 24. They said the negative picture painted of him is wrong.

Castro’s sister said, "They've been saying a lot of negative things about him that aren't true. I've read that he is a bad person, like a criminal, so it's not fair that they picture him that way because he's not a bad person."

His immigration attorney said ICE’s case is based on accusations only. And while DACA recipients are under a magnifying glass while Washington figures it out they still have rights.

"I think that we need to remember that the constitution is still alive and that DACA recipients that those protections are still there and if you have accusations, there's still a process and there are protections that you can work with to seek your liberty,” said Zarazua.

KION reached out to ICE to find out why they targeted Rodea Castro. We haven't heard back from them yet.

 

PREVIOUS STORY:  1/31/18 5:45
Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection say Yuma, Arizona Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a Mexican national in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, after they say he attempted to smuggle four other Mexican nationals into the U.S. January 29.

The suspected driver of the car has been identified as a 26-year-old male from Salinas. His family did reach out to KION saying he was in Yuma working a seasonal job at Foothill Packing, a company that also has a location in Salinas. 

Monday afternoon Yuma agents discovered the footprints of four subjects illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico near County 13th Street and the Colorado River. Agents told others in the Targeted Enforcement Unit who observed four subjects getting into a white Ford F-150 in a nearby citrus grove.

The 26-year-old was arrested on smuggling charges and the four passengers were arrested for immigration violations.

Central Coast immigration attorney, Doug Keegan, says if found guilty then the suspect could not only get his DACA revoked, but also lose his ability to live in the U.S. "DACA does not provide any protection for the individual if they've committed a serious criminal violation or immigration violation," says Keegan.

The arrest comes after two other DACA recipients were arrested in San Diego in two separate smuggling cases.

Keegan says he fears opponents of DACA will use this as leverage, "there are over 800,000 DACA recipients probably 200,000 in California and it would be very unfair and unfortunate if all dreamers were somehow stained by the activities of these few individuals."

 

PREVIOUS STORY:

Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection say Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a Mexican national in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, after they say he attempted to smuggle four other Mexican nationals into the U.S. January 29.

Monday afternoon Yuma agents discovered the footprints of four subjects illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico near County 13th Street and the Colorado River. Agents told others in the Targeted Enforcement Unit who observed four subjects getting into a white Ford F-150 in a nearby citrus grove.

The driver was identified as a 26-year-old male Mexican national DACA recipient from Salinas. The other four occupants were all determined to be Mexican nationals illegally present in the United States. The driver was arrested for human smuggling charges, and the four passengers were arrested for immigration violations. The vehicle was seized for forfeiture.


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