PHOTO: Ivan Santana Sanchez / Williamson County Sheriff’s Office
By BROOKE WANSER
According to the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, a carload of undocumented immigrants was apprehended by law enforcement officers last Friday after a traffic stop.
The driver and a passenger were arrested and remain in custody in the Williamson County Jail, while the other nine passengers were handed over to ICE and transported to Nashville.
Last Friday around 6 p.m., a canine deputies conducted a traffic stop on I-840 around mile marker 30 after noticing an SUV crossing over the dividing line, said Public Information Officer Sharon Puckett.
The officer stopped the suspect, 24-year-old Ivan Santana Sanchez, and discovered nine people in the back of the vehicle, in addition to a female passenger, Mary Louise Perez, 60, up front.
Four passengers in the very back, Puckett said, were “laying down close to each other.”
Both Perez and Sanchez are from Phoenix, which authorities believe is their point of origin.
Puckett said Sanchez told conflicting stories of where the group was heading, but said they were going to Knoxville, then on to New York to drop off passengers.
Sanchez said he was being paid to drive the passengers, and Perez said she was being paid to keep Sanchez awake during the long drive.
Both Sanchez and Perez were arrested and charged with transport of illegal aliens. Sanchez was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and driving on a revoked and suspended license.
ICE agents took the rest of the group into custody in Nashville.
Sanchez and Perez are being held on bond; his, for $7,000, and hers, for $4,500. Their court date is Wednesday, August 22, at Williamson County’s general sessions court.
The sheriff’s office is referring to the case as one of human trafficking, though much information is unknown, Puckett said.
Similar cases of illegal immigration in the county seem to be uncommon.
“I’m not familiar with where it’s happened before,” Puckett said, but noted what Sheriff Jeff Long had said on a recent broadcast: “It’s just indicative of what’s happening in the country.”