Former city employee arrested for smuggling
Retired city employee Pete Robles and his wife of one month, Rosa Suarez were arrested for smuggling, a class 4 felony, when Douglas Police officers went undercover.
Robles recently retired after 35 years with the city from the Cemetery Department.
Officer Martinez stopped two suspicious men near the Gadsden Hotel at 10 p.m. on March 26.
After asking the two individuals for identification and a number of questions, he learned they were illegal immigrants and they had just crossed into the United States.
During the interview, Officer Martinez noticed a cell phone on one of the individuals and had him hand it over along with the other items in his pockets. Shortly thereafter, Sgt. Mark Wilkinson of the Douglas Police Department and Border Patrol officers showed up. The two illegal immigrants, identified as Alvaro Velasquez and Joel Barrere, were transported by Border Patrol.
Just as they were leaving, the cell phone began to ring, Martinez answered the phone, and the caller assumed it was one of the immigrants. He went along with the conversation, and told the caller where they were. The caller then began giving Martinez instructions to walk on 13th Street until they reached B Avenue. Once on B Avenue, look for a blue house with a porch light on with a white Ford truck and blue Jeep in front.
Martinez and Wilkins proceeded to the home in an unmarked vehicle. While traveling to the house, the phone rang again, asking them where they were and to hurry. The caller also identified herself as “Rosa” and said she would be waiting outside the home.
Wilkinson and Martinez then took off their uniforms and advised other officers of the situation, and what they planned to do. Officers parked the vehicle at the 1300 block of C Avenue and began running through the alley when the phone rang again and the female began saying that she was not going to hang up until they reached the house.
After reaching the home, Martinez called out to Rosa and asked her to shut off the porch light because they though they may have been followed. In fact, he was worried that Rosa might recognize the cargo pants that they and other police officers wear.
She then turned off the light and lead officers inside the residence. She then showed then an escape route.
She showed them where they were going to sleep and the way to the restroom. She then introduced her husband, who was sitting watching television at the time. Later, the husband was identified as Pete Robles.
Wilkinson asked to use the restroom, which is when Wilkinson called in the backup.
When Douglas Police knocked on the front door, Martinez and Wilkinson were instructed by Rosa to go to the backyard and hide.
Officers who were knocking on the front door went through the house to the backyard, and were instructed by Wilkinson to restrain Martinez and take him to the front so Rosa could identify him. She told officers she did not know him, and then Sgt. Wilkinson walked out and identified himself as being from the Douglas Police. And he instructed officers to arrest both Rosa Suarez and Pete Robles. They were both transported to Cochise County Jail.
During the interviews, Suarez said that employment was limited in Douglas and most of the people that lived in Douglas had to resort to smuggling illegal aliens or drugs to make a living.
She said she needed the money despite the fact both her home and car were paid off and she had a job that paid her $280 a week. Robles received another $2,700 monthly from his retirement.
According to the police report, Suarez said she was called by Lupe Salinas and pressured into helping pick up people at Wal-Mart and around town for a fee of $300.
According to the report, Robles told Suarez he did not want to know anything or want to get involved in whatever she was doing, but Robles was told he was involved when he let two undercover officers posing as illegal immigrants come into his home. Robles said he understood, but still did not believe he was to blame.
Robles said he was unaware of what his wife was doing and denied being involved.