A Texas attorney was recently arrested near the Mexico border on suspicion of human smuggling.
Timothy Daniel Japhet — who goes by the name “Dan,” according to the State Bar of Texas — was arrested on August 13 for four cases of human smuggling. He was then taken into custody and spent six days in jail. He is now out on $40,000 bond, according to KHOU-TV.
Word of the arrest went viral after Galveston County Constable Jimmy Fullen posted a message about it on Facebook.
“A licensed Texas attorney and Federally appointed immigration magistrate was recently arrested in Kinney County, Texas for Smuggling of a human and resisting arrest,” Fullen wrote. “Great job Deputy Gonzalez and Troopers who were on scene assisting.”
Though Fullen claims that the arrest occurred in Kinney County, other reports suggest Japhet was arrested in Del Rio, Texas, a border city located in Val Verde County.
Japhet, 51, admitted that he had been arrested and cited for human smuggling, but he also claimed that circumstances were not what they seemed. He lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, about four hours away, and told reporters that he was taking a brief holiday to gamble in Del Rio. He had rented a car to make the trip with his dog.
He stated that while he stopped briefly to allow his dog to go to the bathroom, a man approached him and asked whether Japhet would give his friend and him a lift. Japhet agreed, but soon saw that a total of four men were getting in his car. Japhet said he felt uneasy about the situation but that he also felt pressured to give all four men a ride.
“I thought, this is not looking good for me right now,” Japhet said. “I made a bad decision.”
Japhet said he then decided to drive at a high speed in order to attract the attention of law enforcement.
Japhet was then pulled over by police. Border Patrol then allegedly got involved as well.
Japhet told reporters that he has not been indicted and that he expects the case to be dropped. He also denied Fuller’s assertion that he is a “Federally appointed immigration magistrate.” He stated that he practices immigration law only as it pertains to those who own property in Mexico. His bio on the state bar website does not mention anything about immigration law.
Japhet also denied that he was charged for resisting arrest.
As of Sunday evening, Japhet said he still had not been given his dog or his rental car back.
“I’m missing my dog terribly,” Japhet told reporters. “I’ll go back to Del Rio, I’ll get a car and go back [Monday] and get my dog and find out how much it’s going to cost me.”
Fuller’s deputies from Galveston had been patrolling Kinney County, nearly six hours away, as part of Operation Lone Star, a task force created by Gov. Greg Abbott to combat illegal immigration.
The identity and legal status of Japhet’s four passengers are unknown.