Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law a bill toughening the penalties for human smuggling and trafficking. Coming to McAllen for the signing ceremony Wednesday afternoon, Abbott put his name to Senate Bill 576 and telling reporters human traffickers are among the worst of the worst:
(Audio: Governor Greg Abbott)
Under the new law, the penalties on human traffickers are heightened when they use weapons, and if money is exchanged. In addition, penalties can be upgraded if a trafficking victim is injured in the course of the crime.
Also, traffickers and smugglers can face additional charges if they cross Texas farm land. The bill was co-written by McAllen Senator Juan Hinojosa and Kingsville Representative J.M. Lozano.