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US Border Patrol agents stop tractor-trailer smuggling attempt

US Border Patrol agents stop tractor-trailer smuggling attempt
A total of 49 undocumented immigrants were found hidden in the cargo of a tractor-trailer at the I-10 immigration checkpoint at Sierra Blanca, Texas, on Sept. 16. (Courtesy: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

SIERRA BLANCA, Texas – Agents with the U.S. Border Patrol recently foiled a human smuggler who was using a tractor-trailer to transport 49 undocumented immigrants into the country.

On Sept. 16, agents conducting traffic check operations at the Interstate -10 immigration checkpoint near Sierra Blanca, Texas, encountered a tractor-trailer in the primary inspection lane. A nonintrusive K-9 inspection was performed on the vehicle, yielding a positive alert.

The vehicle was directed to the secondary inspection lane, where agents opened the trailer doors and discovered a large group of people hidden in the cargo area. A total of 49 undocumented immigrants were concealed in the trailer, from the countries of Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.

“Checkpoint operations are vital to monitoring the egress of illegal activity into the United States,” said Sean L. McGoffin, chief patrol agent for the Big Bend Sector. “Agents and their K-9 partners were able to positively identify a large smuggling scheme, saving multiple individuals from a potentially dangerous situation.”

The driver of the tractor trailer, a visa holder, was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for prosecution. All of the undocumented immigrants were medically evaluated and processed by the Border Patrol.

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