U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested three alleged human smugglers and 59 migrants in the Laredo Sector in south Texas. The three separate incidents occurred at two different locations. All alleged smugglers are U.S. citizens.
The first of three apprehensions happened on June 2 at a checkpoint on Interstate Highway 35 when Border Patrol agents stopped and questioned a driver and passenger in a tractor-trailer truck. Agents referred the driver, a U.S. citizen, to a secondary inspection station. The alleged smuggler had 48 illegal aliens secreted in the refrigerated trailer, according to information obtained by Breitbart Texas from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials. The illegal aliens were from Mexico and Central America. The driver and the Mexican, Honduran, and Guatemalan nationals were all arrested.
On June 5, Border Patrol agents at the Laredo North checkpoint questioned the driver of a white Ford van. Officials asked the man about his immigration status, and a Border Patrol K-9 alerted to the presence of narcotics and/or concealed humans. Agents searched the van and found six illegal aliens in two locked cabinets. This driver was also a U.S. citizen, and the illegal aliens were from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala.
Three days later, agents working the border patrol checkpoint on Highway 83 questioned the driver of a white Chevrolet van about his immigration status. A Border Patrol canine alerted on the van. Agents searched the van and rescued five illegal aliens who the driver had reportedly concealed in two non-factory made wooden boxes. This driver was also a U.S. citizen, officials stated. The illegal migrants were from El Salvador and Guatemala.
Border Patrol Agent Hector Garza, in his capacity as president of National Border Patrol Council Local 2455, told Breitbart Texas he was not surprised that the drivers smuggling these illegal aliens were U.S. citizens. “The Mexican drug cartels responsible for smuggling these people illegally across the border cannot operate without the help of American citizens,” Garza explained. “We regularly see the cartels utilize American citizen gang members to move their human cargo inside the U.S.”
Garza said his members expressed concerns about the lack of prosecution of human smugglers under the previous administration. “If there are no consequences for their actions, why would they stop?” Garza asked. “We told President Trump the Assistant U.S. Attorneys need more resources to prosecute these cases.”
Just over two years ago. Garza testified before the Texas Senate Subcommittee on Border Security about prosecutorial thresholds issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding human smuggling, Breitbart Texas reported. Members of the committee seemed surprised to learn that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas had set a threshold for prosecution whereby a smuggler must be transporting six or more illegal immigrants before they can be prosecuted.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised increased prosecutions of human smugglers and those who assault Border Patrol agents, in an April 11 speech to Border Patrol agents and CBP officers in southern Arizona, Breitbart Texas reported. A memorandum Sessions issued that day called for prosecuting “any case involving the transportation, or harboring of illegal aliens with prioritization of cases involving the smuggling or harboring of three or more aliens. Aggravating circumstances would also be considered for prioritization including cases where aliens receive serious bodily injury, physical or sexual assault, or the death of any person.”
Garza told Breitbart Texas he has not seen any change in the numbers of prosecutions of human smugglers.
Laredo Sector Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Gabriel Acosta said “The disregard for human life in which these persons were subjected to, and the inhumane conditions that they were placed in demonstrates how callous and heartless these smugglers can be.”
The agency stated the Laredo Sector Border Patrol would continue to warn about the dangerous conditions posed to individuals trying to gain entry into the United States illegally.
“Our Border Safety Initiative (BSI) is a humanitarian, bi-national strategy designed to reduce illegal alien deaths, educate and inform potential illegal aliens of the dangers and hazards of crossing the border illegally, and to respond to those who are in life-threatening situations,” the statement from the CBP released on June 12 said.