EDINBURG, Texas — The Rio Grande Valley Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol is asking the public to help stop human smuggling attempts through Operation Big Rig. This call to action asks anyone who sees or is aware of smuggling or suspicious activity to call 911.
“Alien smuggling and human trafficking are a lucrative business conducted with no regard for human life. While the sector leads the nation in illegal alien apprehensions, agents continue to rescue aliens locked inside tractor-trailer cargo areas. The dangers of this tactic are enhanced with the excessive summer heat experienced in South Texas,” the agency notes.
On July 23, 2017, in San Antonio, 10 people died from dehydration and overheating when they were locked in a trailer and abandoned in a Walmart parking lot. In response to this event, in November 2017, the Joint Task Force West, South Texas Corridor launched the Operation Big Rig campaign to raise awareness to the dangers and consequences of human smuggling. The campaign enhances community engagement and ensures uniformity in the law-enforcement response to human smugglers who use commercial vehicles to transport illegal aliens.
Partnerships with businesses and law-enforcement agencies have proven essential in the distribution of information to truck drivers and the general public on how to report an incident and how law enforcement will respond, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.
Since the beginning of fiscal year 2020, agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector have rescued of hundreds of people from tractor-trailers, many of whom did not have a means of escape, the agency said.
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