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Border agents accuse woman of smuggling 3-year-old

Published: Jun. 7, 2012 at 9:10 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 14, 2012 at 9:10 PM MST
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DOUGLAS, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A woman accused of smuggling a 3-year-old boy into the United States was arrested in Douglas Tuesday.

According to a news release from the U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Abigail Meraz Valezuela, 20, was pushing a stroller with a young child when agents at the Douglas Port of Entry became suspicious. U.S. Customs & Border Public Affairs Chief Edith Serrano said, "officers began the routine questions and thought she might be smuggling the toddler accompanying her."

They determined that she was attempting to smuggle the 3-year-old boy for monetary gain, the release said, and they arrested her and charged her with alien smuggling.

According to Federal Court documents, Valezuela told officers she was promised $1,000 if she brought the boy from Mexico to his mom in Phoenix. "We do see it from time to time at the ports of entry," said Serrano.

The court report says Valezuela gave the boy drugs to make him look like he was sleeping. At the time of the arrest, the boy was so out of it that he had to be taken to a local hospital.

Valezuela didn't act alone, the boy's aunt Arleth Morales told investigators that her sister had arranged for her son to be smuggled into the U.S.

Both Valezuela and Morales face alien smuggling charges. If the two are convicted it could lead to months, if not years in prison.

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