Texan arrested in Jackson County accused of smuggling immigrants

Yunier Hurtado-De Armas
Yunier Hurtado-De Armas

GULFPORT -- A Texas man was arrested Wednesday on a federal charge of transporting immigrants into the United States illegally after he was stopped in Jackson County with six other undocumented immigrants, according to federal court records.

An agent with the South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team stopped Yunier Hurtado-De Armas, 30, on Interstate 10 after he noticed Hurtado-De Armas slow down drastically when he passed a U.S. Border Patrol agent assigned to the South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team.

Hurtado-De Armas also had an improperly displayed license plate, which ultimately led the agent to pull him over, according to a federal criminal complaint filed by the agent.

After the stop, the complaint said, the agent noticed six other men in the red Chrysler Pacifica and learned the tag was registered to another man who had been under investigation in the past for smuggling undocumented immigrants from Houston to Atlanta.

Initially, the complaint said, Hurtado-De Armas said he and the six others worked in construction and were headed to a job in Miami. He later admitted that all six passengers had entered the United States illegally.

Three of the passengers came from Mexico, another from Honduras and two others from Guatemala. All six passengers also were taken into custody for being in the United States illegally.

Those arrested later told agents they had entered the United States near Eagle Pass, Texas, on April 23.

At the time of his arrest, Hurtado-De Armas, a native of Cuba, had been a citizen of the United States for about 1 1/2 years.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Gargiulo ordered Hurtado-De Armas held without bond pending a grand jury review.

Hurtado-De Armas is being held at the Pearl River County jail.