Border Patrol agents working in the Laredo North checkpoint discovered a cold storage trailer containing 32 illegal immigrants being smuggled northward. The incident occurred at the Border Patrol Checkpoint located on Interstate 35 between Laredo and San Antonio.
A Peterbilt Tractor-trailer approached the checkpoint’s primary inspection line. A K-9 agent alerted to the possible presence of smuggled cargo. Agents had the driver move to a secondary inspection station where an x-ray scan revealed anomalies in the refrigerated trailer. The inspection was conducted using the Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS), according to information obtained from U.S. Customs and Border Protection by Breitbart Texas.
Using the VACIS system, agents observed several people being carried inside the cold storage trailer. They quickly unsealed the trailer and found 32 people who had been smuggled into the country from Mexico and Central America.
“We are fortunate that our Border Patrol agents found these people in time to prevent possible serious injury and a loss of life. We ask the community to report suspicious activity. Together we can stop smugglers, who have no regard for human life, from exploiting these persons’ desperate desire to enter the Unites States,” Chief Patrol Agent Mario Martinez said in the written statement.
Human smuggling operations like this are frequently run by Mexican drug cartels who have little regard for the safety of their human cargo, Border Patrol officials warn. The Laredo Sector agents are participating in the Border Safety Initiative (BSI) where they are attempting to warn individuals traveling from Mexico and Central American countries to the United States about the dangers they will likely encounter. Those dangers include assaults and rapes by cartel smugglers, and even possible death as immigrants are frequently abandoned in the hot sun and left to die.
BSI is a humanitarian, bi-national strategy designed to reduce migrant deaths educate and inform potential migrants of the dangers and hazards of crossing the border illegally and to respond to those who are in life-threatening situations, officials reported.
The 32 illegal immigrants will be processed and the driver of the truck was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for possible prosecution.