Two men arrested in connection with smuggling a 7-year-old girl across the country

Jun 14, 2022, 5:29 PM | Updated: 6:10 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — An alert Utah Highway Patrol Trooper stopped a car Saturday night that found a seven-year-old girl who was reportedly being smuggled across the country.

The trooper stopped a white Nissan Altima with tinted windows on I-15 around 10:30 Saturday night near Cedar City.

The tinting was darker than Utah law allows.

Court documents said the trooper noticed the car was drifting over the road lines.

After stopping the car, the trooper smelled marijuana.

He called in another trooper with a police dog that indicated there were narcotics in the car the documents said.

The trooper started asking the driver, 33-year-old Alejandro Marcos Carrillo-Lira, and a passenger, 19-year-old Brandon Vargas Cardoso about a little girl in the back seat of the car.

“We started to take note that there were not any clothes or possessions that belonged to the little girl in the car,” the trooper said in the documents. “We interviewed the driver and he initially claimed the seven-year-old back seat passenger was his daughter. He was unable to provide simple details about the girl.”

Carrillo-Lirao later admitted that he and Vargas Cardoso were smuggling the girl across the country.

Both men were arrested. The arresting documents said neither of them had Utah connections.

Troopers then searched the men’s phones where they found evidence that the two suspects were paid to smuggle the girl.

The Department of Child and Family Services has the girl in their care as they gather more information on her background and family.

Carrillo-Lirao and Vargas Cardoso were each charged with a felony count of aggravated human smuggling.

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Two men arrested in connection with smuggling a 7-year-old girl across the country