Several media outlets claim to have identified the person responsible for allegedly tricking illegal migrants into boarding Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis-chartered flights to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Perla Huerta, a former Army counterintelligence agent and combat medic specialist, allegedly paid an illegal migrant in San Antonio, Texas, to recruit other illegal migrants to board planes to the island, according to multiple media outlets.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent two planes of 48 illegal migrants to the island on Sept. 14. They were moved to Cape Cod after around 24 hours and the state activated 125 national guardsmen to respond.
Huerta allegedly offered one illegal migrant who was on the streets of San Antonio, Texas, food, money and clothes to recruit others to take the flights, according to CNN. That illegal migrant later expressed that they’d felt betrayed by Huerta.
“She had told me that the people who were going to Massachusetts, before I sent them, she had told me that they were going to receive them. They were going to be given shelter, a place to stay. They were going to help them with the language, and those who had children, they were going to study,” the migrant told CNN.
“I never, ever knew that (it) was a governor or politician. So, my only will has always been to help people,” he added.
Illegal migrants involved also identified Huerta in photos, according to The New York Times, which identified the former counterintelligence agent through a person briefed on the San Antonio sheriff’s office investigation into the flights.
The migrant who spoke with CNN allegedly had a photograph of Huerta, Huerta’s friend reportedly confirmed.
Several of the illegal migrants filed a lawsuit, claiming people working for the state of Florida enticed them by “pretending to be good Samaritans offering humanitarian assistance.” The alleged enticers supposedly “induce[d] unwitting cooperation” from the defendants by allegedly offering $10 McDonalds gift certificates and paying for them to stay in private hotel rooms.
The Daily Caller News Foundation previously obtained the packets the illegal migrants received before boarding the flights that showed the destination clearly marked on a map, along with a list of local resources for refugees.
DeSantis has also denied that the illegal migrants were “misled.”
DeSantis’ office didn’t respond to the DCNF’s request for comment. Huerta couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
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