Texas man accused of smuggling 3 Iraqis into US

A Sullivan City man accused of smuggling three Iraqis into the United States was set to appear for a detention hearing Thursday. Prosecutors allege Juan De Dios Martinez Vela, 28, sneaked the men across the Rio Grande as part of a smuggling network with links to the Middle East. US Border Patrol agents discovered Mohammed Awat Mahmood, Salih Wshyar Mohammed and Beirut Majeed Azeez inside Martinez's pickup truck when he was stopped March 12 north of Los Ebanos in Hidalgo County. Defense attorney Jesus Maria Alvarez declined to discuss the case Wednesday because he has not had a chance to fully review the facts, The (McAllen) Monitor reported in its online edition.