Brownsville Police officer Valerie Rivas is on paid administrative leave after facing federal charges of human smuggling, according to a criminal complaint.

Documents state on Feb. 26, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations agents came into contact with Rivas in the sand dunes on Padre Island National Seashore, according to the criminal complaint.


Rivas told immigration officials that she was in the area searching for her boyfriend of 12 years, an undocumented immigrant identified as Alfredo Salazar-Hernandez. Rivas said she made arrangements to pick Salazar-Hernandez up in Victoria after he was illegally smuggled into the U.S. When she didn’t hear from him, though, she drove to Padre Island National Seashore and began searching for him in the dunes, an area where an “unnamed co-conspirator” told her he was supposed to be, according to the criminal complaint. source

While she was in the dunes, Rivas encountered an undocumented immigrant, later identified as Jose Raul Perez-Basoria, who said Salazar-Hernandez had “gone up ahead with other subjects,” to find assistance, according to the criminal complaint.

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