Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents teamed up with ICE Homeland Security Investigations agents and local law enforcement to rescue a large group of migrants from a stash house near the Texas border with Mexico.
Webb County Sheriff’s Office officials provided information to Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents and ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents about a possible human smuggling stash house located within blocks of the unsecured Rio Grande border with Mexico, according to information obtained from Laredo Sector Border Patrol officials. The three law enforcement agencies teamed up to carry out an investigative “knock and talk” meeting at the suspected stash house.
During the investigation, Border Patrol agents found 43 people in the house. A search also uncovered several firearms, officials stated. Agents carried out immigration interviews and health checks on the 43 migrants.
Border Patrol agents determined that all 43 migrants being held were in the United States illegally. The migrants came to the U.S. from Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, officials stated. The health check revealed all 43 to be in good condition.
The agents arrested the migrants and HSI agents will conduct a human smuggling investigation.
Breitbart Texas reports regularly on the abuses of migrants being held in these types of stash houses along the human smuggling trail. Frequently, firearms are found inside the homes where cartel-connected human smugglers will frequently threaten the migrants in attempts to extort additional smuggling fees from the migrants or their families.
Most recently, Del Rio Sector Border Patrol agents rescued nine migrants from a stash house in Eagle Pass, Texas, Breitbart Texas reported.
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.