Border Patrol Operation Rescues Nearly 500 Migrants Smuggled in Tractor-Trailers

In this Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, photo, a Border Patrol officer pats down several of the men that were found with a group of immigrants in a tractor-trailer in Edinburg, Texas. Police in Texas acting on a tip found the immigrants locked inside a tractor-trailer parked at a gas station …
File Photo: Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP

Border Patrol agents in the South Texas Corridor ramped up efforts to stop human smugglers from carrying illegal immigrants in the back of tractor-trailer rigs. During January and February, the Texas Hold-Em Initiative and Operation Big Rig successfully stopped 30 attempts, leading to the rescue and arrest of 448 illegal immigrants.

Cartel-connected human smugglers frequently place the lives of their human cargo at risk of injury or death by packing them into the back of trailers and other large trucks. They run the risk of being injured by shifting cargo or suffering dehydration and/or heat stroke.

January 2018 rescue of migrants locked in tractor-trailer. Photo: U.S. Border Patrol

Border Patrol agents in South Texas are taking proactive steps to reduce the effectiveness of this tactic that is being employed by the human smugglers.

Some of the migrants have been found packed in with cargo shipments of furniture and produce.

Last summer, San Antonio police discovered eight bodies in the back of a trailer in the parking lot of a Walmart store, Breitbart Texas reported. A ninth migrant died after being transported to a local hospital. Twenty others required medical attention after exposure to the 100-plus degree heat of the Texas summer.

In January, Breitbart Texas’ Editor-in-Chief Brandon Darby and journalist Ildefonso Ortiz reported on an arrest made by Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents of a truck driver after the agents discovered 76 illegal immigrants packed in the back of the tractor-trailer.

Earlier that month, agents assigned to the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint discovered 22 more illegal immigrants stashed in the back of a tractor-trailer. A K-9 agent alerted to the possibility of humans or contraband inside the trailer during an initial inspection.

Fifty-Seven more migrants were found in another tractor-trailer at the same checkpoint on January 22. The driver claimed he did not know the migrants were packed in the back of his truck.

“It is highly doubtful the driver did not know they were back there,”Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez told Breitbart Texas after taking the driver into custody. “The load would have been very light as there were just a couple of pallets of produce. The rest of the truck contained the 57 migrants.”

Most recently, agents assigned to the Laredo Sector checkpoint on Highway 83 discovered 32 more illegal immigrants in the back end of another hot truck, Breitbart Texas reported. In this case, agents discovered the driver was a Mexican national. The agents placed him in custody along with his human cargo.

CBP officials explained the two anti-human smuggling operations:

The Texas Hold’em Initiative is a joint multi-agency enforcement effort between the Texas Department of Public Safety and the United States Border Patrol to improve border security by implementing consequences on commercial drivers convicted of human and/or narcotic smuggling. Penalties associated with this type of criminal act include the revocation of Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) and/or a jail sentence.

Operation Big Rig is a call to action by everyone, the media, the community, neighbors, family, friends, and law enforcement to call 911 if they see or are aware of smuggling or suspicious activity of any kind. Do not wait until it is too late.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTXGAB, and Facebook.

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