WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — According to the arrest affidavit, on Thursday, September 29, just before 1 p.m., a Wichita County Deputy stopped a gray Dodge Caravan on US 287 after it was seen following a semi-tractor at an unsafe distance.
The driver was identified as Jose Angel Estrada-Garcia. The deputy also identified eight passengers in the vehicle. Estrada-Garcia said they had been in Mesa Arizona for four days working a job and were traveling to Fort Worth to look for new jobs. He said he knew his passenger very well and they all lived in the same house while in Arizona.
While talking to the passengers, the deputy noted their stories were “all over the place.” They said they all live in an apartment somewhere in Arizona but did not know the address or close location.
When asked if they knew the driver’s name, they said they did not know him, and they were only getting a ride from him. When asked where they were going, no one seemed sure and later said an unknown address in Fort Worth.
While talking to Estrada-Garcia a second time, and after telling him of his passenger’s conflicting stories, he admitted to picking his passengers up at a Hispanic market and said he was dropping them off at a gas station in Fort Worth.
He told the deputy they left Arizona the day before and were driving straight through. He said he was going to be paid $250 per passenger he dropped off through a cash app. He said he knew what he was doing was wrong, but he had fallen behind on some bills and this was a quick way to make money.
Jose Angel Estrada-Garcia was arrested and charged with Smuggling of Persons. His bond was set at $10,000 by a judge. He was also placed on an ICE Detainer and was being held without bond. His passengers were released to another agency.