Woman charged with transporting illegal immigrants through Middle Tennessee

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 6:03pm

When a Nashville man went to pick up his sister-in-law, who illegally immigrated from Mexico, at a local Waffle House on Sept. 27, the woman transporting her demanded an extra $750 for the job, according to federal court filings last week.

The man refused, and when the woman, Maria Anacleto-Estrada, drove away in a passenger van with 19 other people, he called law enforcement. Police issued a be-on-the-lookout alert for the vehicle and shortly afterward the Tennessee Highway Patrol and Crossville police stopped Anacleto-Estrada in Crossville, Tenn.

Now, Anacleto-Estrada faces federal charges in the U.S. District Court of Middle Tennessee for allegedly harboring illegal aliens.

According to the complaint, Anacleto-Estrada allegedly charged $100 per person to transport illegal immigrants from Houston to other parts of the country. The complaint also states that the family who arranged the transport of one of the immigrants already paid $3,000, prior to the argument over the extra $750.

The man claims that Anacleto-Estrada told him his relative would be returned to a drug cartel in Mexico if he didn’t pay up.

THP officers who pulled over Anacleto-Estrada said that all of the doors except the driver’s door were pinned shut on the passenger van.

Anacleto-Estrada was transported to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for identification purposes.

A preliminary and detention hearing for Anacleto-Estrada is set for 1:30 p.m. on Friday in federal court.

According to a THP report, Anacleto-Estrada is also facing a state kidnapping charge in Cumberland County.