A Texas teacher was caught and arrested last week after attempting to smuggle four immigrants over the border.
Brandan Gracia, reportedly a teacher at Houston’s Patrick Henry Middle School, was arrested in Kinney County after trying to smuggle two men and two women into the country, Fox 26 reports.
A Houston area teacher has been arrested and charged with multiple felonies after he was stopped in his attempt to smuggle four migrants into Houston. https://t.co/khSWWcgQEi
— FOX26Houston (@FOX26Houston) April 6, 2023
Sheriff Brad Coe said he believes Gracia was contacted on social media and offered “quick money,” potentially as much as $5,000 for each person being trafficked.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates 17,000 to 19,000 people are smuggled into the United States illegally every year.
Lured by the promise of a good job and better life, victims of human trafficking are often exploited via inhumane working conditions or prostitution.
Matt Benacci, spokesperson for Kinney County, said Gracia “made a very unfortunate choice,” but noted that Houston is already “a hub of human trafficking.”
“It’s one thing to tell yourself, ‘Well I’m just helping people who need help live a better life,’ so on and so forth,” Benacci told local media. “Well, maybe you are, or maybe you’re taking them out of the frying pan straight into the fire.”
In January, a federal sex trafficking sting in Dallas led to the arrest of 46 men, including a high school teacher.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area is also a hot spot for trafficking, according to a local nonprofit.
Sherrif Coe said he believes this is Gracia’s first offense and that the teacher will likely receive 6 to 8 years of jail time.