LAREDO, Texas — In two separate incidents during the first week of December, agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stopped human smugglers and discovered more than 200 people packed into commercial trailers.
On the evening of Dec. 4, a tractor-trailer approached the checkpoint west of Freer, Texas. During an immigration inspection of the driver, a service canine alerted agents’ attention to the trailer. At secondary inspection, agents discovered 138 individuals tightly packed inside the trailer. All were determined to be illegally present in the U.S. from the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Nicaragua. The immigrants along with the driver, a U.S. citizen, were taken into custody pending investigation.
The following evening, Dec. 5, a tractor-trailer approached the Interstate 35 checkpoint and attempted to bypass primary inspection; the driver ultimately complied with agents’ commands to stop. A subsequent nonintrusive scan of the vehicle revealed anomalies in the trailer. When the trailer was opened, 80 people were discovered crammed inside from the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. The individuals were placed under arrest pending investigation by Homeland Security Investigation, and the tractor and trailer were seized by CBP.
Most of the 218 people involved in the two incidents were not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). All subjects were medically evaluated; none required medical attention.
“These two cases illustrate the dangerous amount of human smuggling using large commercial vehicles. These vehicles are not made to carry people, putting the aliens at risk of life threatening injury and offer no protection from COVID-19 or other infectious diseases,” said Matthew Hudak, chief patrol agent for the Laredo Sector.
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