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A confidential tip to the Dilley Police Department regarding what appeared to be a crowd of men in a single motel room aroused suspicions Thursday, December 10, and resulted in the arrest of eight undocumented immigrants.
Police officers worked with the US Border Patrol in the investigation of the alleged “stash house” use of a local motel room Thursday morning and conducted surveillance of the business. According to investigators, the room had been booked for a single night and had been occupied for less than six hours when US Border Patrol agents on the scene agreed to “knock and talk,” Dilley PD Officer Angel Esparza said.
The eight occupants of the room at La Sona Motel beside the IH-35 access road were identified only as adult males from Mexico and Honduras, Ofc. Esparza said, and each appeared to have been supplied with clean clothes and food.
The man who had booked the room, however, was not among those taken into custody, according to the police department, but had provided the hotel registry with a passport as his identification.
“We discovered upon inspection that the passport was a fake,” the officer said. “Our investigations into the identity and whereabouts of that suspect continue.”
Among the concerns at the Dilley Police Department was that none of the undocumented immigrants in the hotel room had been supplied with protective masks or any other means by which to shield themselves or others from coronavirus contagion.
“These are unusual times, and we are especially concerned with the safety of the community in a case like this,” the officer said on behalf of the police department. “These travelers have come into our community and we don’t know what they were exposed to on their journey up here.”
The Dilley PD is crediting observant citizens with having helped identify a number of recent cases of human smuggling and is extending its thanks to those who report suspicious activity.
“Someone saw a lot of people going into a single motel room, and that seemed odd, so they reported it,” Ofc. Esparza said. “People spot things and advise us if they are observing something unusual. It doesn’t look right, for example, when a group of civilians with luggage is climbing into a train or overcrowding a vehicle… It’s become so common nowadays that people know what they’re seeing. This is a matter of reasonable suspicion. That’s why we decided to knock on the motel room door.”