Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol agents stopped two human smuggling events at separate inland immigration checkpoints. These incidents occurred amid shutdowns of similar posts to reallocate manpower to border stations.
Agents assigned to the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint in Brooks County observed a tractor-trailer approaching for inspection Friday. A Border Patrol K-9 alerted to the possibility of drug or human cargo in the trailer and agents referred the driver to a secondary inspection station, according to information obtained from Rio Grande Valley Sector officials.
During the secondary inspection, agents opened the trailer and found 12 Chinese nationals hiding among cargo. The agents took custody of the migrants and arrested the driver and forward passenger of the truck.
The Falfurrias Checkpoint is located on U.S. Highway 281 about 80 miles north of the border with Mexico.
Later that day, agents assigned to the Javier Vega, Jr. Immigration Checkpoint observed a truck approaching for inspection. Again, a Border Patrol K-9 alerted to an odor it is trained to detect. The agents referred the driver to a secondary inspection station where the agents discovered 12 migrants hiding in toolboxes, officials stated. The dozen came to the U.S from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, according to the report.
The Javier Vega, Jr. Checkpoint is located on U.S. Highway 77 in Kenedy County about 70 miles north of the Mexican border.
Special Agents from Homeland Security Investigations are handling both cases.
Inland immigration checkpoints are intended to interdict drug and human cargo beyond agents patrolling the border. In several sectors, officials have been forced to shut down checkpoints to divert manpower to the border to handle the influx of Central American migrants. Cartels utilize these migrants as distractions to tie up agents so that they can move drugs and other human cargo.
“It’s a green light for the cartels when border checkpoints are down,” Otero County, New Mexico, Sheriff David Black, 56, told the New York Post in an interview earlier this month. The sheriff said the closure of the checkpoints has forced him to reallocate his own department’s resources to fill in the gap.