A police body cam attached to a Frio County deputy sheriff captured the moment when nearly 40 illegal immigrants were spared from a horrible death in the back of a Texas trailer. Smugglers allegedly loaded the illegal immigrants into the back end of a trailer with no ventilation in the heat of the Texas summer so that they could be smuggled through the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint.
Witnesses who reportedly saw the driver of the tractor-trailer rig telling people to get out and then get back in the sweltering trailer called 911 and two Frio County deputies, Aaron Ramirez and Sergeant Jerry Reyna responded to the scene, according to a KSAT report. While the trailer was a refrigerated unit, the cooling air was not turned on and the only ventilation was a small door in the back.
A body cam on one of the deputies revealed the horribly weakened condition of the men, women and children who were locked inside the trailer in the 93 degree Texas sun. They were drenched in sweat and many had to be assisted out of the trailer.
Deputy Ramirez told the KSAT reporter, Jessie Degollado, “I could only see arms sticking out of it.”
Breitbart Texas’s Rob Milford reported in September that the truck was parked away from the pumps when other people at the station reported suspicious activity. He wrote that some of the smuggled immigrants were in such a weakened condition that they had to be dragged from the trailer.
Milford reported the illegal immigrants had been in the trailer for at least five hours. They had already cleared the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint when they stopped at the gas station in Frio County.
Had the witnesses not called 911, the thirty-nine illegal immigrants might well have faced a horrifying death from heat exhaustion and dehydration, Homeland Security Investigations deputy special agent Aristides Jimenez told KSAT.
“This is the reality of these individuals facing death, risking their lives to come to our country,” Jimenez said.
For many years, the evidence of the total disregard for human life by the smugglers of immigrants has been on display in south Texas. Since 2009, the remains of nearly five hundred illegal immigrants have been found in the fields of ranches in Brooks County, according to Chief Deputy Benny Martinez.
The illegal immigrants are frequently found locked in the trailers of trucks smuggling the human cargo. In 2003, the bodies of eighteen illegal immigrants were found just south of Victoria, Texas, in an abandoned trailer. In May, 2015, eighteen more illegal immigrants were found inside yet another tractor-trailer, as reported by Breitbart Texas’ Ildefonso Ortiz.
The driver of the rig found in Frio County was arrested at the scene. Drew Christopher Potter, 33, from Watuga, Texas (near Fort Worth), has since been indicted by a federal grand jury. The grand jury charged him with four counts of conspiracy to smuggle and transport the 39 men, women and children who were found in his trailer. Four of the immigrants were reported to be minors. If convicted, he could spend up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine not to exceed $250,000, court records revealed.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.