Texas police officer faces human smuggling charges

A police officer in Texas has been placed on administrative leave following her arrest on human trafficking charges.

Brownsville police Officer Valerie Rivas was among a group of people spotted by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter Feb. 26, hiding in the sand dunes of Padre Island National Seashore, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Rivas told immigration officers that she had gone to the area to pick up her boyfriend, who had planned to enter the U.S. illegally. But when she arrived, she learned that Salazar-Hernandez had crossed the border earlier, the Morning News reported.

Border Patrol agents in Corpus Christi found the boyfriend and another man in the sand dunes earlier in the day, Fox 29 San Antonio reported.

According to authorities: “Rivas freely stated that when they heard the helicopter flying overhead, she attempted to hide from it because she knew that it was illegal to transport illegal aliens and did not want to be apprehended doing so.”

Rivas has been on the Brownsville force since July 2016, a police spokesman told Fox 29.