Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents discovered a large group of migrants locked in the cargo area of a tractor-trailer during an inspection at an immigration checkpoint. Agents said the migrants’ shirts were marked in a fashion similar to “cargo and commodities.”
Laredo North Station Border Patrol agents assigned to the Interstate 35 Immigration Checkpoint observed a commercial tractor-trailer approaching for inspection on December 16. During a secondary inspection, the agents found a group of more than 70 migrants locked inside the trailer, according to information obtained from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.
Laredo Sector #BorderPatrol agents discovered more than 70 people inside a tractor trailer at a checkpoint yesterday. All of the individuals were found to be illegally present in the US, from the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. https://t.co/TwUzdQZ7jC pic.twitter.com/oYUxBf1qHW
— CBP (@CBP) December 18, 2019
Officials reported the migrants’ shirts were marked in a way that appears “to assist the trafficking organization in classifying/identifying the individuals within the group, a similar methodology used to classify cargo and commodities.”
Agents identified the “human cargo” as migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico, officials stated. The male and female migrants all entered the U.S. illegally.
Agents arrested the driver of the tractor-trailer rig, a U.S. citizen, and turned him over to ICE Homeland Security Investigations special agents for further investigation related to human smuggling. The agents also turned the apprehended migrants over to HSI as potential witnesses to the human smuggling process that brought them to the checkpoint located more than 50 miles from the Mexican border with Texas.
The checkpoint on Interstate 35, located between Laredo and San Antonio, is the frequent scene of migrants being smuggled in tractor-trailer rigs and in passenger vehicles, Breitbart Texas reported.
Last week, agents assigned to this checkpoint recovered 27 migrants who were locked by cartel-connected human smugglers in a trailer. The temperature in that trailer was below freezing, officials stated. In September, agents found another 53 migrants locked in a trailer where the temperature exceeded 100 degrees.
“The harsh conditions smugglers expose them to often lead to severe injury or death. Tragically, too many have died while being smuggled,” Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost tweeted in September.