Home News Local News Material witness reveals details about alleged ‘stash house’

Material witness reveals details about alleged ‘stash house’

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Seven male migrants found in an alleged immigrant stash house in Chaves County last month paid thousands of dollars and in at least one case, spent days in the desert, to be smuggled into the U.S., according to documents filed in federal court.

The documents provide insight into how migrants kept at the alleged stash house at 17 Concord Road were brought into the United States. Chaves County deputies and Enforcement Removal Officers (EROs) with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uncovered the stash house June 14, based on a tip.

ERO officers were later told by migrants at the house that they paid between $8,000 and $12,000 to be transported illegally from Guatemala to cities across the U.S. according to the court documents.

Migrants later told the ERO officers they were taken to the house from a desert location near Highway 90 by an unknown individual.

Documents state one of the migrants — a material witness into the investigation — said he was part of a group of 19 people, including three guides, who crossed into the U.S. illegally and walked through the desert for five days. The man told EROs he and some of the other migrants in the group were later picked up by an unknown male who drove them to the Concord Road house.

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Migrants were ordered to go into the stash house and not leave, the witness added. The documents state the guides who led the migrants across the border were allowed to go into the main residence to use the kitchen to cook and prepare food for the migrants.

The owner of the property, Christine McDonald, 41, has been charged with conspiracy “to harbor, transport, or move or attempt to transport aliens within the United States.” She turned herself over to the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office June 24 and was subsequently turned over to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

McDonald drove at least two of the guides back to Mexico in a white Toyota Camry, according to the documents.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.