Details emerge about mystery woman who led migrants to Martha’s Vineyard

details emerge about mystery woman who led migrants to martha’s vineyard

Perla Huerta.

Soon after landing on Martha’s Vineyard last month, the Venezuelan migrants said, they knew they’d been deceived. The promises — free passage to Boston, jobs, refuge — made by the woman they knew only as “Perla” were clearly empty.

She also seemed to have vanished. When they messaged her on WhatsApp, they got no response.

Now, the San Antonio sheriff’s office appears to be on her trail, as it investigates whether crimes were committed when she allegedly recruited nearly 50 migrants for the trip from Texas to Massachusetts. The sheriff’s office believes the recruiter is Perla Huerta, a former US Army counterintelligence specialist and combat medic, according to a person briefed on the investigation.

A spokesperson for the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in San Antonio said Monday the investigation into the matter is ongoing and the office has “not identified any persons of interest at this time.”

Massachusetts lawyers representing the migrants allege that “Perla” defrauded their clients by inducing them to board the airplanes under false pretenses. According to a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of most of the migrants, “Perla” said they would receive housing and cash assistance in “sanctuary states,” and furnished fabricated documents to bolster her claims.

Even before she was publicly identified — The New York Times first published Huerta’s name Sunday — attention had focused on her alleged role in the scheme, and the mystery of her identity.

Migrants said she had introduced herself only as “Perla” and held herself out as a kind of guardian angel. Outside an immigration resource center in San Antonio, they said, she approached Venezuelans and promised a better life up north.

She seemed to be targeting Venezuelans, in particular. Carlos, a migrant who did not want his last name published, said Monday that when Huerta approached him in a white van outside a Walgreens, her first question was, “Are you Venezuelan?”

When he said yes, she drove him to a hotel and put him and other migrants up for the night.

“I thought it was some kind of special program for Venezuelan immigration,” he said. “But it was all a trick.”

Millions of Venezuelans have left their home country in recent years amidst political upheaval and economic instability, and many have headed for the United States and applied for asylum. According to federal government figures, more than 25,000 Venezuelans were stopped at the US southern border in August of this year, four times more than in August 2021.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican and possible 2024 presidential candidate, immediately took credit for sending the migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, saying the federal government’s asylum policy places an undue burden on border states.

“The transportation of the immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard was done on a voluntary basis,” the governor’s office said in a recent statement. “The immigrants were homeless, hungry, and abandoned . . . Florida’s program gave them a fresh start in a sanctuary state and these individuals opted to take advantage of chartered flights to Massachusetts.”

Last year, DeSantis signed a budget that included $12 million to ship unauthorized immigrants out of Florida. That money appears to have been used for the operation allegedly spearheaded by Huerta in Texas — possibly in violation of the law that allocated the funds.

Huerta served for 20 years as a combat medic and counterintelligence specialist, according to an Army spokesperson. She deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan before her retirement in August.

The same month, she listed her Tampa house for sale, according to public records. Around that time, a neighbor, Dan Palmer, said he asked her what she planned to do next and she gave a somewhat vague answer. “Well, I might go to Europe,” he recalled her saying, in a phone interview Monday.

Last week, Palmer said, he received a call from a deputy in the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office seeking information about Huerta. (The Boston Globe has seen text messages Palmer exchanged with the deputy, and the deputy confirmed to the Globe that he is working on the case.) He sent the deputy a picture of his neighbor to confirm her identity. On Monday, when a Globe reporter showed him a photo of “Perla” taken by a migrant in Texas, Palmer confirmed that the woman was his neighbor, Perla Huerta. Palmer hasn’t seen Huerta in weeks, he said.

Migrants who arrived on Martha’s Vineyard haven’t seen or heard from her either. Carlos was among the migrants who contacted her, angry and confused after arriving on Martha’s Vineyard on Sept. 14. He said he sent her a recorded audio message over WhatsApp, the app he had used to communicate with her after their encounter at Walgreens in Texas.

The app indicated that she listened to his message, he said. But she never responded.

Almost all of the migrants are now housed at a military base in Cape Cod. Some had already applied for asylum before they were sent to Massachusetts. Their next moves are uncertain.

Few of the migrants have significant personal connections in the United States and some are still getting their bearings after an arduous journey, lawyers said.

“They’ve been through a lot of trauma starting with conditions in their home country and continuing during their travel across Central America and Mexico and finally the deplorable turn of events when they reached Texas,” said Oren Sellstrom, a lawyer representing the migrants in the class action lawsuit.

Carlos said he knows no one he can stay with in the United States and doesn’t know where he’ll go next. A spokesperson for the Massachusetts National Guard said all of the migrants will leave the base by the end of October.

But for the moment, at least, Carlos said he feels he is dealing with people he can trust. “Everyone here — on the island, on the Cape, the military personnel — have been very good,” he said.

As for “Perla” and her motivations, though, he remains flummoxed. “I can’t say why she did this,” he said.

News Related


Sports World Reacts To Major World Cup Goal Controversy

DOHA, QATAR – NOVEMBER 23: Japan players celebrate the 2-1 win during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Germany and Japan at Khalifa International Stadium on ... Read more »

Lava from Hawaii's Mauna Loa volcano eruption oozes toward major highway

Lava from Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, continues to ooze toward a major highway on Hawaii’s Big Island, though officials still say populated areas aren’t at risk. As ... Read more »

World Cup 2022: Why Japan’s controversial goal vs. Spain stood despite appearing to go out of play

Japan’s Kaoru Mitoma appears to have the ball over the line before crossing it for a goal. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) DOHA, Qatar — The goal that dumped Germany out ... Read more »

Serbia vs Switzerland World Cup lineup, starting 11 for Group G match at Qatar 2022

Serbia vs Switzerland World Cup lineup, starting 11 for Group G match at Qatar 2022 Switzerland may have a points advantage over Serbia going into the sides’ group-stage clash, but ... Read more »

140 brave souls tackling 100-mile foot race from Jacksonville to Ponce Inlet

DAYTONA BEACH — There are those charmed days when a runner feels like they could glide through the streets of their city for hours and finish feeling better than when they hit ... Read more »

Florida, DeSantis yank billions in investments from 'woke' BlackRock over ESG investing

Florida is yanking $2 billion worth of state assets managed by BlackRock, escalating the GOP standoff with the world’s largest money manager over its ESG investment policies. The state treasury ... Read more »

Airline Accidentally Flies Mexican Woman to Seattle — Without Visa or Passport

Chiapas-based Marijose Gamboa just wanted to take a flight back home after a trip to Guadalajara. However, an airline mix-up caused her to accidentally end up in Seattle, Washington instead ... Read more »

Senate overwhelmingly passes railroad agreement to avert holiday season strike

labor protesters outside the U.S. Capitol Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images Senate overwhelmingly passes railroad agreement to avert holiday season strike The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed legislation to head ... Read more »

City of Uvalde sues DA as release of Robb Elementary records remains blocked

Christina Mitchell Busbee has continuously blocked such a release, saying it could impede investigations and traumatize families. Read more »

'Indiana Jones 5' trailer released, movie title revealed

Indiana Jones is back. Read more »

Widespread outage shuts down 988 mental health hotline

People can still reach a mental health counselor through the lifeline by texting “988” or opening a chat at Read more »

82-Year-Old Alabama Woman Arrested for Not Paying $77 Trash Bill

Court records show the Valley woman was arrested Sunday for not paying the garbage service bill that covered the months of June, July and August Read more »

How ‘It's Called Soccer' Chants Became USMNT Fans' Newest Motto

The USMNT will head into the knockout stage for the first time since 2014 Read more »

New Property Tax Increases Hit Hispanic Wards Hardest in Chicago

Most Cook County property owners will see a larger tax bill this year, but owners in gentrifying Latino neighborhoods in Chicago will see some of the biggest hikes. Some will ... Read more »

Stocks Making the Biggest Moves After Hours: Asana, Zscaler, Marvell and More

Check out the companies making headlines after hours. Asana – Shares of the work management platform operator plunged about 12% in extended trading after the company reported a loss for ... Read more »

Golfer 'bit off nose of competitor' in row over game

Mark Wells, 51, faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of the charge. The victim's nose was not found. Read more »

Japan's goal that ultimately eliminated Germany counted thanks to the cruelest geometric twist

Japan’s goal that ultimately eliminated Germany counted thanks to the cruelest geometric twist Japan shocked Spain — and Germany — with a 2-1 victory on Thursday to win Group E ... Read more »

Visit Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Home To The World’s Largest Travertine Arch Bridge

Visit Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Home To The World’s Largest Travertine Arch Bridge Quick Links What The Tonto Natural Bridge Is Planning A Visit to Tonto Natural Bridge State ... Read more »

Always Do This Before Checking Out of Your Hotel

Always get a copy of your hotel bill the night before so you aren’t rushed or feel pressure to hurry up and close the account because of the guests waiting ... Read more »

Trump Org throws Allen Weisselberg under the bus

Donald Trump, Allen Weisselberg and Donald Trump Jr. (AFP) On Thursday, The Guardian reported that lawyers representing the Trump Organization are going all-out against the company’s longtime CFO, Allen Weisselberg, ... Read more »

NFL has terrible record on Black coaches, owners. Jeff Bezos' Amazon playbook isn't the answer.

The NFL is looking to make a trade. Would swapping Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Commanders, for Jeff Bezos, the architect of Amazon, be a quick fix? Replacing an ... Read more »

Yale University sued for alleged discrimination against students with mental health disabilities

Yale University sued for alleged discrimination against students with mental health disabilities The suit alleges Yale forces students struggling with mental health to withdraw. Two Yale University students and Elis ... Read more »

Psych! Justin Fields Full Participant in Bears Practice on Thursday

Psych! Justin Fields practiced in full on Thursday originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago Just hours after Luke Getsy said he expected Justin Fields to remain limited all week, Fields ... Read more »

Restaurant Fire Destroys Popular San Antonio Truck Stop

Link video: NBCUniversal, Inc. A massive fire destroyed a restaurant and popular truck stop in San Antonio Thursday morning. Dramatic video shows flames consuming a Denny’s restaurant at the ... Read more »

Trump Org. attorneys point fingers at former CFO in closing arguments of fraud case

Closing arguments are underway Thursday in the Trump Organization tax fraud trial, where defense attorneys blamed the alleged criminal tax schemes on former CFO Allen Weisselberg, who’s already pleaded guilty ... Read more »

Morgan Stanley CEO on Elon Musk: 'Wouldn’t bet against' him

Gorman called Musk one of the 'most interesting entrepreneur[s] of the last 50 years' Read more »

Argentina finish top of group with win over Poland, who also advance

Argentina finish top of group with win over Poland, who also advance Argentina turned in their best performance thus far at the 2022 World Cup on Wednesday, beating Poland 2-0 ... Read more »

First on CNN: Federal judge orders former top lawyers in Trump's White House to testify in criminal grand jury probe

A federal judge has ordered former top Trump White House lawyers to provide additional grand jury testimony, rejecting former President Donald Trump’s privilege claims in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation ... Read more »

Richard Branson's Reaction To The Fatal Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crash

spaceshiptwo crash Back in 2014, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed into the Mojave desert, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other. Some prophesied that the dream was over — commercial ... Read more »

Patriots Are Making Notable Kicking Change Thursday Night

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 29: Nick Folk #6 of the New England Patriots celebrates after kicking a 50 yard game winning field goal against the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth ... Read more »

Promiment SEC Team Officially Eliminated From Bowl Game Contention

SEC logo Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports With just a few more games remaining in the 2022 college football regular season, 79 FBS programs have already clinched bowl eligibility. One team ... Read more »

Ex-Texas coach Tom Herman says he's accepted Florida Atlantic job

Ex-Texas coach Tom Herman says he's accepted Florida Atlantic job Former Texas coach Tom Herman has accepted Florida Atlantic's head coaching job, he told ESPN's Pete Thamel on Thursday. Herman is set ... Read more »

Patrick Peterson: Have texted Kyler Murray, want to help him grow as a player

Patrick Peterson: Have texted Kyler Murray, want to help him grow as a player EAGAN, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson denied Thursday that he has “beef” with Kyler ... Read more »

Harrison Ford stars in 'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny' 1st-look trailer

Harrison Ford stars in 'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny' 1st-look trailer The film, directed by James Mangold, hits theaters June 30, 2023. Harrison Ford is back as Indiana ... Read more »

GivingTuesday organization raises $3.1 billion for charities in tough economy

NEW YORK —  GivingTuesday raised a record $3.1 billion in 24 hours for charitable causes in the U.S. earlier this week, as the event that started as a hashtag in 2012 ... Read more »

Spain World Cup 2022 squad guide: Last-16 draw, ones to watch, odds and more ahead of Morocco clash

Spain are eyeing a place in the World Cup quarter-finals when they take on Morocco on Tuesday afternoon in the last-16. It’s been a mixed tournament so far for Luis ... Read more »

CNN is canceling ‘Morning Express with Robin Meade,’ another cost-cutting casualty

The budget cutting ax is in full swing at CNN. The news network is shutting down “Morning Express,” the daily program hosted by Robin Meade has aired on CNN’s sister ... Read more »

Debunking 3 common cold myths

Despite popular belief, cold or rainy weather cannot make a person sick. VERIFY asked the experts to weigh in on this old wives’ tale, and more common cold myths. Read more »

FCC Authorizes SpaceX to Begin Deploying Up to 7,500 Next-Generation Starlink Satellites

The FCC issued a key authorization to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, granting approval to launch up to 7,500 of its next-generation Starlink internet satellites. “Our action will allow SpaceX to begin ... Read more »

Matt Gaetz friend gets 11 years in prison for sex trafficking of a minor, other crimes

ORLANDO, Fla. —  A former Florida tax collector whose arrest led to a federal probe into U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for sex trafficking ... Read more »
Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network