Del Rio Sector Border Patrol agents rescued nine migrants from a stash house after stopping an attempt to move a separate group through an inland immigration checkpoint. During the raid, agents also seized a sawed-off shotgun and a package of methamphetamine.
Eagle Pass South Station Border Patrol agents assigned to the Highway 57 immigration checkpoint on October 17 observed a 2005 Chevrolet Colorado approaching for inspection. During an immigration interview, agents discovered the U.S. citizen driver from Katy, Texas, had three illegal immigrants in his truck. The agents arrested the driver and the illegally present trio, according to Del Rio Sector officials.
During the processing of the migrants and the driver, the agents learned about a possible stash house in Eagle Pass. Agents coordinated with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents and executed a raid on the residence, officials stated.
During the raid, agents found 12 people inside the house. Those include three suspected smugglers — all residents of Eagle Pass. A search also uncovered a sawed-off shotgun and 250 grams of methamphetamine, officials reported.
The 12 smuggled migrants came from El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Mexico.
The alleged human smugglers will face federal prosecution under 8 USC § 1324 – alien smuggling. If convicted on the charges, each could face up to 20 years in federal prison, officials stated.
“Human smuggling is highly profitable for criminal organizations,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz said in a written statement. “Agents, along with our law enforcement partners, work hard to combat this type of illegal activity and safeguard the lives of those who may suffer at the hands of smugglers.”
“Human stash houses are commonly used by criminal organizations to stage smuggled people in often sub-human conditions,” Del Rio Sector officials wrote. “Individuals must typically await transport to interior destinations of the United States and pay fees to smugglers. It is not uncommon to be held for weeks in small, cramped structures without adequate ventilation, running water, or sanitation.”
“Smugglers have also engaged in robbery, rape, and physical abuse,” the officials stated.