U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Sector rescued 36 illegal immigrants who were being warehoused by human smugglers just north of the Texas/Mexico border.
Agents in Edinburg, Texas, received a tip about a possible stash house. Stash houses are used in South Texas to warehouse illegal immigrants, often in inhumane and unsanitary conditions, after they have crossed the border. They are held there until they are scheduled by their smugglers to move north around Border Patrol inland checkpoints. The illegal immigrants held in stash houses are often held hostage for additional smuggling/ransom payments. Men are frequently beaten and women are often sexually assaulted.
The Border Patrol agents teamed up with deputies from the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and began surveillance of the reported stash house, according to information obtained from Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Marlene Castro by Breitbart Texas. As agents and deputies began to approach the house, they observed several individuals fleeing from the stash house. Following a foot pursuit, agents and deputies captured those who fled from the house.
After obtaining consent to search the home from one of the “caretakers,” agents and deputies entered the home and found several additional illegal immigrants and the human smuggler who was responsible for managing the group.
An investigation revealed the illegal immigrants had been smuggled across the border from Mexico. The group included foreign nationals from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, officials stated.
Officials did not disclose the ages or genders of the illegal immigrants. Often times, women and children are found in these types of stash houses. In this case, 36 people were being held in a very small houses. Border Patrol officials previously described the conditions in stash houses as “deplorable.” Sometimes as many as 100 people will be crammed into the small houses.
Agents took the illegal immigrants to the McAllen Border Patrol Station where they will be “processed accordingly,” Castro stated. The Border Patrol continues to ask for the public’s assistance in reporting suspected stash houses or other suspicious activity by contacting local law enforcement or the U.S. Border Patrol station.