- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A member of the violent Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang pleaded guilty Wednesday to his role in an illegal immigrant smuggling operation.

Authorities say Cody Michael Matousek, 33, had already been under investigation for his role as coordinator of a smuggling operation affiliated with an Aryan Brotherhood chapter in Galveston, Texas.

Matousek was nabbed last month after he and his co-conspirators made an ingenious smuggling attempt, hiring a tow truck to carry a car through a Border Patrol highway checkpoint. Inside the car were two Brazilian illegal immigrants.

The novel approach appeared to be successful at first, as the tow truck carrying the Ford 500, which had the illegal immigrants in it, made it through the checkpoint.

But the driver, who was not in the know, returned to the checkpoint a few minutes later saying he felt something was fishy about the job he was hired to do.

Agents jimmied open the door and rescued the two Brazilians from the car’s trunk, according to court documents filed in the case.

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Agents then recruited the tow truck driver to be part of a sting operation. They had him complete his delivery of the car, where agents and police were waiting to nab the people who hired him.

They arrested three people, including Matousek and Guadalupe Levario.

The Brazilians identified Matousek, the Aryan Brotherhood member, as the orchestrator of the scheme. They said he picked them up at the border, put them in a stash house, then hired Levario to get them through the Border Patrol checkpoint.

One of the Brazilians said he paid $20,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. The other didn’t tell agents how much she paid, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.

Matousek offered Levario $2,500 per migrant smuggled through the Border Patrol checkpoint.

Levario also entered a guilty plea Wednesday.

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A third person arrested as part of the operation, Ashley Michelle Voitle, is still facing charges.

Matousek is the second Aryan Brotherhood operator to be arrested over the last year.

In July, a man arrested during a traffic stop was found to be transporting two illegal immigrants. Authorities said he recruited Aryan Brotherhood members for his operation, too.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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