EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Two women are facing conspiracy charges after border agents deployed a tire-deflation device on vehicles they suspected were transporting unauthorized migrants.
The incident happened last week along New Mexico Highway 9 west of Santa Teresa. Court documents show U.S. Border Patrol agents on Sept. 6 observed two Chevrolet Equinox SUVs, one bearing Arizona license plates, the other one Texas plates, traveling in tandem along Highway 9.
Both vehicles appeared weighted down, and the one with Texas plates allegedly had been involved in a high-speed, human-smuggling event near La Union, New Mexico, a day earlier, records show.
Agents decided to avoid another high-speed evasiion attempt possibly involving the same driver, so they immobilized the Equinox with Arizona plates that drove ahead of it. Both vehicles came to a stop. Border Patrol agents allegedly found eight unauthorized foreign nationals inside the lead vehicle and 11 in the Equinox with Texas plates.
According to court records, the lead vehicle driver identified herself as Ashley Gholson and volunteered that the other driver, Pere Alexander, had instructed her to rent the Equinox with Arizona plates to transport unauthorized non-citizens.
Gholson allegedly told investigators Alexander was getting instruction from someone in a WhatsApp chat and that earlier the same day, both women had transported a single unauthorized migrant from the border to La Mesa, New Mexico.
Alexander also agreed to speak with agents without her attorney present and said she was originally going to get paid $500 just for acting as a lookout for the other vehicle. Still, the plan changed when many migrants approached the vehicles, according to federal court records. She mentioned nothing about being involved in a high-speed escape the previous day.
Both women are facing charges of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.