Criminal JusticeImmigration & BorderIssuesCorpus Christi Lawyer Arrested in Kinney County on Suspicion of Human Smuggling, Resisting Arrest

The lawyer was reportedly arrested on August 13 and released on a $40,000 bond after spending six days in jail.
August 22, 2022
An attorney from Corpus Christi who claimed to work for the federal government on immigration cases was arrested in Kinney County on suspicion of human smuggling and resisting arrest, according to a constable working near the southern border on Operation Lone Star.

Galveston County Precinct Two Constable Jimmy Fullen is among many law enforcement officers from across the state who are assisting border patrol and local officials with responding to illegal immigration.

“A licensed Texas attorney and Federally appointed immigration magistrate was recently arrested in Kinney County, Texas for Smuggling of a human and resisting arrest,” Fullen wrote on Facebook. “Great job Deputy Gonzalez and Troopers who were on scene assisting.”

The constable posted images of the subjects arrested, including attorney Timothy Daniel Japhet. Fullen included a photograph of Japhet’s law license, which indicated he was licensed in May 2003.

Fullen told The Texan on Monday that one of his deputies arrested Japhet, who claimed at the time to be a federal immigration magistrate. The deputy took him into custody with a Texas Department of Public Safety officer, Fullen explained, and accused Japhet of resisting arrest.

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Japhet was reportedly taken into custody on August 13 and held for six days before being released on a $40,000 bond. He was charged with four counts of human smuggling.

The lawyer told an ABC affiliate in Corpus Christi that he thought he was merely picking up hitchhikers on his way to visit the Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass. He also denied being accused of resisting arrest.

He told 3NEWS that he became uneasy about the four individuals he had picked up, so he began speeding, hoping to attract the police attention and get pulled over.

Japhet also stated that he is not a federal immigration magistrate but handles cases involving property owned in Mexico, the outlet reported.

Operation Lone Star is a law enforcement strategy launched by Gov. Greg Abbott to combat illegal immigration. Nearly 300,000 illegal aliens have been arrested by state police, National Guardsmen, and others working on the operation since its inception in March 2021.

UPDATE: Constable Jimmy Fullen posted the following clarification on Facebook on Tuesday: “Several [days] ago I posted and gave details of an arrest of a certain attorney that was arrested for human smuggling and resisting arrest in Kinney County, Texas. I would like to set the records straight on what transpired, who made the arrest and what we’ve verified since the arrest and or post. 

First and foremost, he was in fact arrested on four counts of smuggling a human. Deputy Gonzalez originally detained the suspect but he was subsequently arrested, transported and booked by Trooper Wanda Wolfe with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Secondly, deputy Gonzalez filed for and is currently awaiting for a warrant to be issued for Resisting Arrest and Transport. 

And last but certainly not least, the arrestee stated to Deputy Gonzalez several times once in custody that he was a federal Immigration judge. That assertion by the arrested has since been disproved.”


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."