In a 60 Minutes report, new details emerged from last year’s clandestine flights that carried migrants from Texas to Massachusetts under the direction of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The weekly television newsmagazine revisited the controversial incident which saw 50 migrants – primarily Venezuelan asylum seekers – dropped off in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. with scant warning or plan for their immediate future. Widely viewed as a cheap publicity stunt for DeSantis’ fledgling presidential campaign, the flights could bring criminal charges.
“You’re a schoolyard bully who took advantage of people that you thought were people of no consequence, and now you’re getting called on your crap,” Bexar County, Texas Sheriff Javier Salazar told CBS correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi.
Salazar has recommended felony and misdemeanor charges against two people involved in the flights, but declined to give names. Because of its deceptive nature, the operation qualifies as “unlawful restraint,” Salazar said.
“They preyed upon people to get them on that plane,” Salazar said. “They exploited them, took advantage of the situation they were in, in a very desperate situation, and then took them there under false pretenses.”
Some of the migrants identified Perla Huerta, an Army counterintelligence agent, as the ringleader. Huerta allegedly scoured San Antonio for migrants and offered $10 McDonald’s gift cards to board the plane and sign “consent to transport” forms.
Public records reveal the flights cost Florida more than $600,000. The DeSantis administration declined comment on the 60 Minutes report.