Ronaldo Vidaurri Jr. sped north up Highway 35 in a Ram pickup near Pearsall, Tex., after crossing the border from Mexico in March 2019. When he was pulled over by the Frio County Sheriff’s Office, deputies discovered he was smuggling five migrants.
Vidaurri later pleaded guilty to illegally conspiring to transport people across the border, but he told investigators he had help. A U.S. Border Patrol agent named Rodney Tolson Jr. let Vidaurri cross the checkpoint with “loads” of migrants, he told investigators, according to a plea agreement filed this week.
In May, Tolson was arrested and indicted by a grand jury. He signed his plea deal on July 7, admitting to conspiracy to transport an undocumented migrant within the United States.
Now, Tolson is facing up to 10 years in prison for conspiring to illegally transport migrants from February to March 2019. Tolson confessed to receiving $400 per person from an associate of Vidaurri, according to the plea deal. The associate, who wasn’t named in court documents, said Tolson assisted in their smuggling operations as many as six times.