Del Rio Sector Border Patrol agents arrested an armed human smuggler and four migrants near an interior immigration checkpoint in Texas.
Agents assigned to a temporary checkpoint near Eagle Pass, Texas, on January 5 observed a 2016 Dodge Charger approaching for inspection. Before reaching the checkpoint, the driver turned around and pulled over, according to Del Rio Sector officials.
The agents observed several people exiting the vehicle and fleeing into the brush, officials stated. The agents moved quickly to the Charger and arrested the driver and a passenger. A search of the area led to the arrests of four.
Officials identified the driver as a 22-year-old male U.S. citizen. They also identified the passenger as a 21-year-old male U.S. citizen. Both accused smugglers are reported to be from Crystal City, Texas. A search of the vehicle uncovered a loaded .40 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol concealed under the driver’s seat, officials stated. Agents placed both U.S. citizens under arrest with charges related to attempting to smuggle four illegal immigrants deeper into the U.S.
“Smugglers in possession of loaded firearms are of serious concern to me,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz said in a written statement. “However, our agents are prepared and remain determined to keep our communities and country safe.”
Officials identified the migrants as coming to the U.S. from Ecuador (2), Nicaragua (1), and Honduras (1).
The alleged human smugglers could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the charges under 8 USC 1324.
The four migrants will be processed under Del Rio Sector guidelines.
Del Rio Sector Border Patrol officials report an increase in human smugglers attempting to move their “cargo” into the U.S. interior after the migrants illegally cross the border from Mexico. Officials said the number of incidents where the smugglers are armed is also on the rise.
“Smugglers arming themselves with firearms is becoming a common trend,” Chief Ortiz said in a November written statement. “This poses a threat to not only our agents but the community and those being smuggled as well.”
In November 2019, Del Rio Sector agents encountered two additional armed men.
A Kenney County Sheriff’s Office deputy called Border Patrol agents assigned to the Brackettville Station for assistance on October 27 after stopping a vehicle with four suspected illegal immigrants on board, according to Del Rio Sector officials. The agents conducted an immigration interview and determined four of the passengers had illegally entered the U.S.
During a search of the vehicle, the deputy found a Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol in the driver’s side door pocket. The deputy arrested the driver and a passenger and seized the handgun and vehicle. The agents transported the four illegal aliens to the Brackettville Station for processing. Officials did not disclose the nationality of the four migrants.
One day earlier, Brackettville Station Border Patrol agents found a second handgun while searching the area of a disrupted human smuggling attempt. During a search, the agents found a black backpack on the ground. The backpack held a Glock 26 9mm pistol. Officials report the handgun was fully loaded. The agents transported the backpack and handgun to the station for processing. Officials did not disclose any additional information about the failed smuggling attempt.