Another human smuggling tragedy was averted when an 18 wheeler trailer was opened in South Texas and 37 illegal immigrants were discovered Friday afternoon. The immigrants had been left baking in scorching Texas sunlight.
The truck was found under bright sunshine and 93 degree heat at the Road Ranger truck stop on Friday afternoon in Frio County, Texas, just 45 miles south on Interstate 35 from San Antonio. The Moore, Texas, truck stop is located 43 miles north of the Cotulla Border Patrol checkpoint. It appears the truck loaded with illegal immigrants cleared the checkpoint without incident.
The truck was parked away from the pumps and someone at the gas station noticed “suspicious activity” and called the authorities. Frio County Sheriff’s Office deputies opened the trailer to discover 37 illegal aliens, baking in the Texas heat, according to a CBS News report.
Sgt. Jerry Reyna of the Frio County Sheriff’s Office called for help from the Border Patrol at Cotulla, who then called for back up from agents from San Antonio and Laredo. “Someone spotted the small door on the back of the trailer open, and hands reaching through and trying to unlock the door” he told KSAT-12 from San Antonio.
When they finally opened the doors of the trailer, “They were real sweaty, dehydrated, heat exhaustion,” Reyna said of the illegal immigrants. “Some of them, we had to literally drag out of the back of the trailer because they couldn’t walk for themselves
The aliens told authorities that they had loaded up in the truck in Laredo on Friday morning, and had been in the truck for about five hours. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security have teamed up for a human smuggling investigation.
The driver was taken into custody on Friday afternoon. He reportedly told officials that he had picked up the men in Laredo on Friday morning, An official from Frio Regional Hospital confirmed they were treating some of the immigrants and that others were taken to hospitals in that area. There is no word on the status of those taken into custody, but none remain hospitalized.
The Border Patrol issued a statement late Friday to the San Antonio media:
On September 18, at around 4p.m., Cotulla Border Patrol Station received a call for assistance from Frio County Sheriff’s Office regarding a concerned citizen call they received of several people locked inside a tractor trailer near a gas station on HWY 57 and 35. Upon arrival to the scene, Border Patrol agents assigned to the Cotulla Station assisted Frio County Sheriff’s Deputies in taking custody of the people. A total of 37 undocumented aliens were located inside the trailer. EMS was requested and transported the people to several area hospitals for medical treatment. The case is currently under investigation by Homeland Security Investigation.
Late on a sun baked and dusty Friday afternoon, the tractor-trailer was towed away, and the scene was only marked with several dozen empty water bottles consumed after the illegals were freed from the sweltering captivity of the tractor trailer.
Rob Milford is a news contributor fort Breitbart Texas. You can follow him on Facebook.