Commercial trucks involved in multiple human-smuggling attempts at U.S.-Mexico border

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July 13 Incident Laredo Texas
In this July 13 incident, one of many human-smuggling attempts using commercial vehicles along the U.S.-Mexico border, 35 illegal aliens were discovered hidden in a trailer. The temperature inside the trailer registered more than 126 degrees Fahrenheit. (Courtesy: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

As summer heat continues to create dangerous conditions in the Southwest portion of the country, agents with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents are working to prevent human smuggling along the nation’s southern border. Frequently, smugglers use tractor-trailers or other commercial trucks to transport illegal immigrants into the U.S., often endangering the lives of their human cargo, according to officials with CBP.

During the past few weeks, CBP agents have stopped numerous human-smuggling attempts involving commercial vehicles.

Temperature of 126.1 degrees recorded in trailer holding 35 immigrants

LAREDO, Texas — CBP agents apprehended large number of individuals inside a tractor-trailer during a failed human smuggling attempt in north Laredo the evening of July 13, when a tractor hauling a white trailer approached the U.S. Highway 83 checkpoint.

During an immigration inspection of the driver and passenger, both U.S. citizens, the driver readily admitted that there were people inside the trailer. Upon opening the trailer, agents found 35 individuals who were illegally in the U.S. from the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The inside trailer temperature was recorded at 126.1 degrees Fahrenheit at the time the individuals were discovered. All were evaluated and offered medical attention by a Border Patrol emergency medical technician.

All subjects were placed under arrest, including the U.S. citizen driver and passenger, pending further investigation by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents (HIS).

Busy day for Texas border patrol yields significant apprehensions

LAREDO, Texas — Over the course of a busy 24 hours, CBP agents apprehended a large number of individuals inside a tractor-trailer at the Interstate 35 Border Patrol checkpoint and at a stash house in south Laredo. One of the individuals apprehended inside the tractor-trailer was discovered to have been previously convicted for murder.

The first incident occurred during the early afternoon on July 21, when a tractor-trailer approached the I-35 checkpoint and a service canine alerted agents to the trailer. During a secondary inspection, agents discovered 58 individuals inside the trailer, all illegally present in the U.S. from the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The individuals and the driver, a U.S. citizen, were turned over to Special Agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further investigation. The tractor and trailer were seized by CBP.

During the investigation, a Mexican national was determined to have a previous murder-charge conviction in Houston, Texas. His conviction carried a sentence of 10 years confinement. He was criminally charged for immigration violations and remains in CBP custody pending prosecution.

Later the same day, Laredo Sector agents, HSI and the Laredo Police Department (LPD) conducted surveillance at a suspected stash house in the 2700 block of Mier Street. A green SUV was observed leaving the house with several individuals inside. LPD conducted a traffic stop and discovered that it was occupied by five individuals who were illegally present in the U.S. The driver and his four passengers were taken into custody.

CBP agents, along with HSI and LPD, apprehended 46 individuals, including one juvenile, at the residence. The individuals were in the country illegally from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. All were taken into custody pending investigation.

Human smuggler driving tractor-trailer arrested by border patrol in California

SALTON CITY, Calif. — CBP agents with the El Centro Sector arrested a man suspected of smuggling seven illegal aliens hidden in the cabin of his tractor-trailer on the morning of July 22.

The incident occurred at approximately 11:12 a.m., when a man driving a white 1995 semi tractor-trailer approached the Highway 86 immigration checkpoint. During an immigration check on the driver, a canine detection team alerted to the cabin area of the truck. The driver was directed to the secondary inspection area for further investigation.

During the more intensive inspection, CBP agents searched the cabin area of the semi-truck and discovered seven illegal aliens attempting to conceal themselves. Agents safely removed all of the subjects and conducted welfare checks. The smuggler and all seven illegal aliens were subsequently placed under arrest.

The driver, a 46-year-old U.S. citizen, was processed administratively for alien smuggling and the semi tractor-trailer was seized. The illegal aliens — five adult men, one adult female and one unaccompanied male juvenile — all from Mexico, were expelled back to their country of origin after agents conducted criminal background investigations and further medical screenings.

Tractor-trailer filled with illegal immigrants gets stuck on railroad tracks

LAREDO, Texas — A stuck tractor-trailer on railroad tracks north of Laredo led to the apprehension of 23 individuals by CBP agents during a failed human smuggling attempt.

The incident occurred on the morning of August 3, when agents assigned to the Laredo North Station responded to assist Webb County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) deputies with a white tractor-trailer that was stuck on the railroad tracks near Interstate 35, mile marker 14.

Agents conducted an immigration inspection on 23 individuals whom WCSO deputies had discovered being transported in the trailer. All 23 were all illegally in the U.S. from the countries of Mexico and Honduras; they were taken into custody by CBP. The driver, a U.S. citizen, was arrested by WCSO pending investigation. Union Pacific Railroad Police took custody of the tractor-trailer.

CBP discovers more than 50 illegal immigrants hidden in refrigerated trailer

LAREDO, Texas — In what continues to be a part of a troubling trend, CBP agents at the Interstate 35 Border Patrol checkpoint north of Laredo halted another sizable human smuggling attempt involving a commercial vehicle.

The incident transpired late during the evening of Aug. 5, when a tractor hauling a trailer approached the I-35 checkpoint and a service canine alerted to the trailer.

During a secondary search of the vehicle, agents discovered 53 individuals inside the refrigerated trailer, all illegally present in the U.S. The individuals, from the countries of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, along with the driver, a U.S. citizen, were taken into custody pending investigation. The case was turned over to HSI for further investigation and prosecution. The tractor and trailer were seized by CBP.

“This latest case is another dangerous example of how smugglers put the lives of migrants at risk to make a profit,” said Matthew Hudak, chief patrol agent for the Laredo Sector. “Our agents and our law enforcement partners will continue to target this smuggling method and prosecute the criminal organizations that use it.”

Three U.S. citizens arrested for smuggling 52 illegal aliens in stake bed truck, van tandem load

EL CENTRO, Calif. — CBP agents assigned to the El Centro station arrested three U. S. citizens for smuggling 52 illegal aliens on Aug. 7.

The incident occurred at approximately 5:08 a.m., when remote video surveillance system (RVSS) operators reported a stake bed truck and van suspected of alien smuggling near the border wall west of Mount Signal Road. Agents responded to the location and observed the stake bed truck and van traveling away from the border to Highway 98. Agents immediately conducted a vehicle stop on the stake truck on Mount Signal Road and advised other agents that the van continued eastbound on Highway 98.

Agents approached the driver of the stake truck and conducted an interview. The driver, a 22-year-old male U.S. citizen, admitted to having illegal aliens in the rear cargo area of the truck. Agents searched the truck and discovered 37 subjects attempting to conceal themselves under a black tarp in the bed of the truck. The smuggled group consisted of 36 adult Mexican nationals and one adult Guatemalan national, all illegally present in the U.S.

Moments later, agents encountered the van traveling eastbound on Highway 98 and performed a vehicle stop on the van. Agents approached the driver and front-seat passenger and determined both to be U. S. citizens. Further inspection of the vehicle revealed 15 subjects in the back of the van. Agents interviewed the occupants and determined all to be adult Mexican nationals illegally present in the U.S.

The three U. S. citizens and 52 illegal aliens, consisting of 35 men and 17 women between the ages of 18 and 52, were placed under arrest and were transported to the El Centro station for further processing.

Both the stake truck driver and van driver are being presented for criminal prosecution for 8 USC 1324 Alien Smuggling. All smuggled illegal aliens are being held in federal custody pending further processing.

CBP discover nine illegals hiding in cab of tractor-trailer

OCOTILLO, Calif. — On Aug. 9, agents with the El Centro Sector of the CBP arrested a man suspected of smuggling nine illegal aliens hidden in the cabin of his tractor-trailer. The incident occurred at approximately 2:30 a.m., when a man driving a gold 1995 tractor-trailer approached the Highway S-2 immigration checkpoint. During an immigration check on the driver, agents were given consent to inspect the cabin of the semi-truck.

During the cabin inspection, CBP agents discovered nine illegal aliens attempting to conceal themselves in the sleeper cabin. Agents safely removed all of the subjects and conducted welfare checks. The smuggler and all nine illegal aliens were subsequently placed under arrest.

The driver, a 34-year-old legal permanent resident of the U.S. from Mexico, was processed administratively for alien smuggling. A search of the driver’s pockets also revealed a glass pipe with residue consistent with methamphetamine. The glass pipe and the semi tractor-trailer were seized.

The illegal aliens, seven adult men, two adult females, all from Mexico, were expelled back to their country of origin.

Four human-smuggling attempts stopped by CBP agents in Rio Grande Valley

EDINBURG, Texas — On the evening of Aug. 14, agents working at the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint referred a tractor-trailer to the secondary inspection area to check inside the tractor. During the secondary inspection, agents discovered 10 illegal aliens concealed throughout the cabin. Agents arrested the driver and the 10 subjects and escorted them into the checkpoint for processing.

The following day, Aug. 15, McAllen agents in Mission, Texas, witnessed multiple subjects running away from the river levee, heading toward Military Highway. A nearby Air and Marine air asset responded and observed a Ford F-150 leaving the area at a high rate of speed. Agents relayed information to the Palmview Police Department, which located the vehicle traveling south on Inspiration Road. The driver attempted to return to the river levee but stopped when the vehicle could no longer travel through the muddy road. The driver, along with two passengers, abandoned the vehicle and ran toward the Rio Grande River. Inside the vehicle, agents discovered 10 illegal aliens and located another nearby.

On Aug. 13, Rio Grande Valley Sector agents working near McCook, Texas, observed a suspicious white Chevrolet pickup near FM 490 and FM 681. As an agent attempted to get a closer look at the vehicle, the truck accelerated and traveled onto a private ranch, crashing through a several gates. Agents followed the vehicle tracks and discovered the wrecked pickup abandoned. With the assistance of an Air and Marine air asset, agents found 10 illegal aliens hiding throughout the property.

CBP processed the cases and subjects accordingly.

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