Man claims he doesn’t know how undocumented immigrants got in his vehicle

A man charged with harboring two people in the country illegally told federal investigators he was under the influence of “whippets” and didn’t understand why he was being arrested, court records show.

Maximo Retana is one of three men facing the charge after Border Patrol says a remote camera operator watched as a black SUV picked up two people in muddy clothing by the Rio Grande and drove to an apartment complex in Roma.

“He claimed to have been high on whippets, compressed chemical air cannisters, during the incident and claimed to have no idea how the illegal aliens appeared in his vehicle or why he was being arrested,” agents say in a criminal complaint.

Border Patrol also charged Oliver Garcia-Cantu and Argelio Garza in the case.

According to the criminal complaint, the camera operator watched as the SUV drove north from the river on Sunday but lost sight of it when it entered an apartment complex.

That apartment complex, however, was already under surveillance because of its association with a prior smuggling event, authorities say.

Those agents approached the SUV that was driven by Garcia-Cantu where Retana was a passenger and knocked on an apartment door where Garza answered. Simultaenously, other agents on scene had arrested two people who exited the SUV and ran behind the apartment on suspicion of being in the country illegally.

“Agents did not locate any additionaly subjects, but did observe the rooms had no furniture except for one mattress and minimal food, which based on training and experience is indicative of a stash house,” the complaint stated.

All three men are being temporarily held pending scheduled probable cause and detention hearings, records show.