A Texas attorney has been arrested for allegedly smuggling four illegal immigrants from Mexico and facing four human smuggling charges.
The Corpus Christi attorney, Timothy Dan Japhet, was arrested last week on the 13th of August in Kinney County. According to Constable Jimmy Fullen, he was pulled over by Galveston County deputies and a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper on Ranch Road 674 near Brackettville.
The deputies were in Kinney County as part of Operation Lone Star, Abbott’s task force ramping up security to target illegal immigration.
The constable said they were executing a traffic stop when they heard a vehicle approaching at a high rate of speed. The trooper and a deputy followed the car until it crossed the center line. The deputy then initiated a traffic stop and approached the driver’s side of the vehicle while the trooper went to the passenger side.
Japhet had claimed that the three in the back seat jumped in after the man in the front seat asked for a ride to his job site. He added that he wanted to be stopped by police, which was why he was speeding, but the constable had countered that claim.
"*" indicates required fields
He recalled that Japhet had sped past them. He asked, “Why didn’t you simply pull up alongside them and tell them, ‘Hey guys, I need help.’ Instead, he went past them at a high rate of speed and just kept on going.“
The constable added that Japhet had also “refused to comply” with instructions. He said Japhet refused to give his driver’s license or turn off his ignition and exit the vehicle when asked to do so. He also claimed that Japhet had allegedly slapped the deputy’s hand when she attempted to open his door through the window.
Fullen said, “She actually reached inside the window, tried to unlock the door from inside, at which point he slapped her hand away.” Finally, he added that Japhet also claimed to be a judge.
Japhet, who is currently eligible to practice according to the State Bar of Texas, denied every testimony of the constable. He denied resisting arrest and claiming to be a judge.
Japhet said Galveston County Constable Jimmy Fullen got two things wrong in his viral Facebook post. Japhet said he was not cited for resisting arrest and that he is not a “federally appointed immigration magistrate.” https://t.co/1JyJnwYyMq
— KYTX CBS19 (@kytxcbs19) August 22, 2022
Japhet said, “I may have said that in jail trying not to get shanked. These so-called hitchhikers were soaking wet, which gave a clear indication they had just come across the river.“
The four passengers in the vehicle were later recognized as migrants from Mexico, and the constable also noted that the road was a popular route for smugglers hoping to evade detection.
Japhet claimed that he was giving them a ride to their job site in Del Rio only to find the Del Rio closed, so he was going to take them to another location in San Antonio. Japhet now faces four counts of human smuggling, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years and up to a $10,000 fine. No indictment has been issued yet, but the deputy constable said she would file resisting arrest charges against him.
After spending a week in jail, Japhet was released after posting a $40,000 bail bond. However, he still denies all charges and calls Operation Lone Star “unconstitutional” and “political.”