A former senior at a Chula Vista high school was charged in court Monday with recruiting other high school students to smuggle people and drugs into the United States from Mexico.
According to court documents, 18-year-old Phillip Junior Webb recruited classmates at Castle Park High School to smuggle people, and methamphetamine and fentanyl into the country on multiple occasions.
Webb was charged Monday with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and smuggling foreign nationals for financial gain.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Webb was responsible for recruiting five juveniles who were caught at the border trying to smuggle meth or fentanyl strapped to their bodies in between July 1 and October 23 of last year.
One of the teens told federal agents that he had successfully crossed the border with drugs 15 or 20 times, sometimes twice in one day, and brought the drugs to places in San Diego and San Bernardino. He said he was paid $400 for each pass.
According to court documents, the juvenile told agents that he knew several others at his school who worked smuggling drugs across the border.
Another juvenile recruited by Webb told agents after his arrest that he was once paid out by Webb in a bathroom on the Castle Park campus.
The fifth student arrested told agents that he was contacted by a female fellow student who asked him to do a favor for one of her friends. He was later contacted on Facebook by someone named “Anthony” about smuggling drugs across the border.
The teen said he tried to change his mind but Anthony threatened him and claimed he knew where he lived. Agents believed Webb was involved because of his association with the girl who made the ask, and because records showed that Webb crossed into the U.S. minutes before the teen was arrested.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office also said that last Friday, May 4, Webb was caught trying to bring two foreign nationals, a Chinese woman and a Mexican man, into the country in the trunk of his car.
The Mexican man told authorities that he paid $14,000 to be taken into the country. The Chinese woman said her church in China made the arrangements for her to enter the country and head to New York City.
If convicted on both charges, Webb could face 13 years to life in prison.
In a separate case, the U.S. District Court charged Alejandro Barba, 27, with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine after he was seen participating in an alleged drug deal in the parking lot of San Ysidro High School.
According to court documents, Barba allegedly received an 11-pound package of meth from a student at the school who, when arrested, told federal agents he got the package from another student who smuggled it across the border.