CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Two men were arrested for allegedly smuggling a 7-year-old girl in Cedar City on Saturday.
Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) says the suspects are Alejandro Marcos Carrillo-Lira, 33, and Brandon Alexis Vargas Cardoso, 19.
Troopers first spotted the suspects’ vehicle along I-15 near mile marker 63 in Cedar City on June 11. Authorities noticed the vehicle’s window tint appeared darker than the legal limit along with window tint on the car’s brake light. While observing, troopers say the vehicle drifted to the left of the roadway and crossed the fog line.
When troopers pulled over the suspects, they noticed a 7-year-old girl sitting in the backseat. A trooper K-9 was deployed and indicated the presence of narcotics as troopers became suspicious of criminal activity.
While interviewing the driver, Carrillo-Lira, he claimed the 7-year-old girl was his daughter although troopers say he was “unable to provide simple details about the girl.”
The suspect later admitted that he and the other male passenger had been paid to smuggle the girl across the country. Both men are not from Utah and have no ties to the state, officials say.
The passenger, Cardoso, admitted to smoking marijuana without holding a medical marijuana card. While searching the vehicle, troopers say no narcotics were found.
While searching the suspect’s phone, officials confirmed that money was exchanged to smuggle the girl across the country.
Both suspects were arrested on charges of aggravated human smuggling. They are currently booked at the Iron County Jail.
The young girl has been taken and placed into the custody of The Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS).