Del Rio Sector Border Patrol agents disrupted a complex human smuggling incident involving multiple vehicles. The interdiction of the vehicles led to the arrests of six suspected human smugglers and 14 Mexican migrants, according to a Friday announcement.
Brackettville Station Border Patrol agents received information on October 24 from a 911 call regarding a vehicle believed to be picking up migrants on a remote roadway, according to Del Rio Sector officials. This is a common human smuggling tactic after migrants are marched through ranches around inland immigration checkpoints.
The agents responded to the remote area near Brackettville, Texas, and observed the reported white Ford F-250 pickup described by the caller. The agents began to follow the truck which then attempted to speed away.
Following a short pursuit, the driver drove off the road and the occupants attempted to flee on foot. Agents conducted a search of the area and found the driver, a 34-year-old U.S. citizen from Austin, Texas. They also found six migrant males.
A search of the truck also revealed a seventh migrant who the smuggler locked in the truck’s toolbox. The migrant had no means of escape in the event of a crash or being abandoned by smugglers, officials stated.
A short time later, the agents conducted a traffic stop on a 2015 black Jeep Patriot in the same vicinity as the earlier incident. Agents interviewed the driver, a 20-year-old female, and her passenger, a 20-year-old male. Both were determined to be U.S. citizens from Georgetown and Austin, Texas, respectively.
Agents identified the woman and man as being scouts for the smuggling incident and placed them under arrest, officials stated.
The investigation continued into the evening when agents found a third vehicle believed to be associated with the human smuggling conspiracy. The agents stopped a white 2012 Dodge 1500 pickup truck. During an immigration interview, the agents identified the driver and front-seat passenger as U.S. citizens from San Marcos, Texas, officials reported.
A search of the vehicle led to the discovery of two illegal immigrants concealed on the floor of the passenger compartment. The agents arrested the two U.S. citizens and the two migrants. An investigation identified one of the illegal aliens as the foot-guide for the operation.
“These criminal organizations are concerned only with the substantial profits they stand to gain, and won’t hesitate to utilize methods that imperil the lives of those they smuggle,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz. “Our agents, through superior communication and superb teamwork, were able to stop this multi-layered attempt to smuggle illegal aliens into our country.”
Officials identified all 14 of the foreign nationals as Mexican males. The agents turned the six human smugglers and 14 migrants over to ICE Homeland Security Investigations agents for further investigation and possible referral for prosecution.
Officials seized all three vehicles used in the alleged smuggling conspiracy.