‘Perla’ investigation continues

Photos offer new clues.


Photos obtained by The Times offer a look at some of the people who may have been involved in the transportation of Venuzualan migrants to the Vineyard, including an image of “Perla” taken in Texas. Perla is the woman accused of rounding up migrants in San Antonio and luring them onto planes with false promises of jobs and other enticements. A photograph obtained by The Times, allegedly of “Perla,” was taken by one of the migrants at a San Antonio hotel during the time migrants were being pitched an opportunity for travel. The photo is a headshot of a smiling woman with dirty blonde hair, with shrubbery and woodwork in the background.

Rachel Self, one of the attorneys representing the migrants, said the Texas-based investigation into the transportation of the migrants to Martha’s Vineyard remains active. That investigation is being conducted by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. “We are very grateful that the sheriff is not standing idly by,” Self said.

A spokesman for the sheriff did not immediately respond to an email or phone call seeking an update on the investigation.

Self said the migrants have shared with law enforcement images of Perla, who she said “lied” to the migrants and “induced” them to board charter flights with the promise of jobs and housing. Those flights ultimately landed at Martha’s Vineyard Airport on Sept. 14. Self said the migrants took several pictures of Perla. 

The New York Times identified the woman under investigation as Perla Huerta, a U.S. Army veteran — specifically a counterintelligence specialist and a combat medic. Florida records show that Huerta may be a maiden name, and that she lives on Bayshore Drive in Tampa, Fla.

Self said migrants kept in contact with Perla during their Texas-to-Massachusetts journey through WhatsApp. Upon reviewing the image The Times obtained of the woman believed to be Perla, Self confirmed, “That is the person that clients identified as Perla.” Self said she believed Perla was not alone, that she was working with four or five other individuals. This includes while the planes were in the air. 

“There was one man and one woman on each of the planes who were part of the criminal enterprise,” Self said. She did not identify those individuals.

Lawyers for Civil Rights, an organization that has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of the migrants, indicated it will name Huerta in the suit if information about her can be verified. Presently they have a placeholder for her in the suit. 

“The New York Times and CNN are reporting that ‘Perla,’ the woman sued as Doe Defendant No. 1 in our federal class action lawsuit brought by the migrants deceived into traveling to Martha’s Vineyard last month, is Perla Huerta,” the organization states.
“As alleged in our complaint, ‘Perla’ played an integral on-the-ground recruiting role in Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ scheme, inducing migrants in San Antonio to fly with false promises of employment, education, and housing. Once we have verified this information, we plan to amend our complaint to substitute Perla’s true name for Doe Defendant No. 1. She will then be formally served with the complaint and required to respond in federal district court.”

The statement goes on to describe the woman’s background in counterintelligence. “The fact that ‘Perla’ is apparently a former military operative and spy aligns with the allegations in the complaint — which describe a highly orchestrated plan based on secrecy, deceit, and misrepresentation,” according to the statement. “We look forward to uncovering further evidence as the case proceeds, and bringing all of the perpetrators of this scheme to justice.” 

A migrant-shot photograph obtained by The Times of a woman suspected of being a participant in the coordination of the flights was allegedly taken on a Texas tarmac before the flights left. Clothing and a red-strapped bag the woman is wearing in the photo appear to match Martha’s Vineyard Airport video stills taken around the time the planes landed on the Vineyard. The woman in those stills wears a similar top, and has a similar red-strapped bag. Some other people in the stills do not appear to be migrants. One person in aviator glasses and a button-down shirt appears to be holding a clipboard or a sheaf of papers. Self didn’t offer any clue as to the identities of any of the people who were reportedly on the planes assisting in the operation. On Tuesday, a representative for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has publicly taken credit for having the migrants transported from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, requested questions about the migrants in writing. The DeSantis administration didn’t immediately respond to emailed questions about Huerta or others involved in the transportation of the migrants. The Texas investigation doesn’t appear to have reached the Island’s airport so far. Airport manager Geoff Freeman told The Times on Tuesday that the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has yet to reach out to the airport.

The U.S. Department of Justice has also been asked to open an investigation into what’s been called a “political stunt,” but it’s unclear whether they are investigating the matter.



  1. What exactly is the crime here? What will she be charged with? Jones Act? Helping people go from a messy border to a pristine island? Non equity in selection of people to a blue State? Choosing Venezuelans over other Latinos for preferential travel? Help me out. Oh ”promises” like the promise of Sleepy Joe to unify the country?

    • You can start with “these were asylum seekers, in the country legally pending hearing of their cases.” Explain to me why you think it’s OK for vulnerable people to be lied to and then transported to a place where no one was aware they were coming. Once I understand where you’re coming from, maybe we can have a conversation.

    • Fortunately for the republican party lying is not a crime.
      But , “If you’re a Republican, you can’t even lie to Congress or lie to an FBI agent or they’re coming after you,” … Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert June 5 2022.

      However, it is illegal to transport people across state lines under false pretenses. It is also illegal to spend federal taxpayer money doing it if that money was appropriated for something else.
      We will see what the charges will be, if any. Having said that, I think referring to it as “criminal enterprise” is a bit much at this point.
      I think it’s worth at least investigating.
      Is it ok to investigate possible crimes, or are republican operatives immune from investigation in your opinion ?

      It’s kind of hard to unify the country when we have people like Marjorie Taylor Green talking about how the democrats are ruining farmers fields while shooting feral hogs from a helicopter because they are ruining farmers fields. It also doesn’t help that there is a republican party propaganda machine that attacks democratic politicians and policies, regardless of the merits every day.
      Even Matt Goetz, ( republican Florida rep) voted against federal money for disaster relief after hurricane Ian for his own state because it “continues the failures of the federal government.” and because it “empowers Nancy Pelosi”. Quotes attributed to Mr. Gaetz
      I’m sure all the fox fans think that sort of rhetoric is unifying the country.
      It’s too bad that in just 18 months “sleepy Joe” took the country from a spot where we were all loving and respecting each other and single handedly caused all the divisiveness we see today.
      And just in case you missed it, I am reposting the video of Ms. Green hog hunting from a helicopter.

      Or how about this “unifying” campaign ad by former republican governor and current senate candidate Eric Greiten about “Rhino hunting”
      He’s not talking about hunting the endangered species — he’s talking about “Republicans in name only ”
      Presumably, that means anyone who disagrees with 45.

    • Now the Island is pristine? All I hear from Mr Engelman is how backwards and crazy this place is. Now it’s pristine.

      • And don’t forget how he thinks the island is covered in trash because people leave free stuff on the side of the roads.
        But fairly typical for him to change the narrative when it fits his ideology or agenda.

      • A lot of vineyarders agree with you on the Tisbury school issue as do I, however most Vineyarders do not agree with me on social and financial and economic/political issues. They also ravage the person they disagree with. They live on the dark side.

      • People on MV and other readers of local papers who question President Biden’s migrant and border policy—and any number of other local, national, and international hot-button topics—generally keep their heads down and their mouths shut.

        The situation on the southern border is a disaster. We should be focusing on changing that.

  2. The “crime “ is that the Venezuelans were mislead by Perla, who lied to them by “promising” them jobs, homes, and relocation in Boston. “Dumping “ these people who were only looking for a better way of life for their families was a very mean trick perpetuated by abbot and desantis ( yes, I used small letters as they are small men!)….Perla deserves to be investigated at the very least!

  3. And you know this for a fact.? Do you know that the Venezuelan govt has released violent prisoners from their jails and has taken them to Mexico to join migrant caravans to the US. Homeland Security tells us this.

    • This is another conservative Republican lie spread by Breitbart. You fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. There is zero confirmation of this lie, zero evidence. Don’t Republicans ever get tired of spreading lies?

      Someday you are going to post something true, engelman, and no one will believe you. But I know why you never cite your sources, lol.

    • Once again, you have been duped. The Homeland security administration has never released any statement  that alleges  the Venezuelan government has released any prisoners, violent or not and has taken them anywhere much less to Mexico to join migrant caravans. Let me be clear— you are alleging that the government of the United States has alleged that the government of Venezuela transported violent criminals across Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica , Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala to join up with “caravans” in Mexico
       you have presented no evidence to corroborate that claim.
      Here is a post from a reliable fact checking organization:
      you say that “homeland security tells us this”.
      show us– show us  the statement from Homeland Security verifying this.
      Yes, from homeland security– not some right wing nut case telling us about what homeland security says– .
      I want to see the actual release from that agency.

    • I can’t trust anything a few “conservative” commenters here say. why would I ? I have proven that at least one of them lies all the time. Even in a comment posted on this thread just yesterday. You know the saying “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and ……… you can’t get fooled again” or something like that.

    • So let’s just assume andy is correct, and Homeland security did actually say that Venezuela is transporting criminals to Mexico to join caravans.
      So do believe that or not ?
      Sort of a catch 22, don’t cha’ think ?

  4. I am impressed that this woman has finally been identified. I hope she will be prosecuted. As a former Republican (who left the GOP after Trump won the primary in 2016), I am deeply ashamed that the party I once loved and admired has fallen so far as to have become completely unrecognizable. Just when I thought that the GOP could not possibly sink any lower, I have been proved completely wrong.

Comments are closed.