Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents apprehended 17 migrants being smuggled in a hidden compartment within a flatbed truck. The agents also arrested the driver, a U.S. citizen.
Freer Station agents assigned to an immigration checkpoint observed a flatbed commercial truck approaching for inspection on February 7. The agents reported the truck was loaded with cement sacks, blocks, and square tubing, according to information obtained from Laredo Sector Border Patrol officials.
During an initial interview, a K-9 detection team conducted a walk-around search. The K-9 alerted to an odor it is trained to detect. The agents directed the driver to a secondary inspection station.
During a search of the truck, agents found a hidden compartment. Inside the compartment were 17 people who were trapped in the hollowed-out space covered by the square tubing. The agents extracted the men and women trapped in the dangerous compartment.
An immigration interview revealed the 17 men and women were from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, officials stated.
The agents arrested the driver for possible charges related to alien smuggling, a violation of 8 USC 1324. If charged and convicted, the driver, a U.S. citizen, could face up to 10 years in federal prison. The agents seized the truck and transported the migrants to the Freer Station for processing and possible removal to Mexico or their home country.
Homeland Security Investigation will look into the alleged human smuggling operation.
On February 13, Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents found five migrants in a Nissan sedan. Four of the migrants were dangerously locked inside the trunk of the car, Breitbart Texas reported.
El Centro Sector agents also disrupted a dangerous human smuggling operation when they discovered 26 migrants locked in a trailer. The temperature inside the trailer was less than 45 degrees and the migrants had no means of escape in the event of a crash or abandonment.
“The undocumented immigrants were locked and trapped inside this tracker-trailer in below 45-degree weather with no safety restraints,” said Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “This smuggling organization had no regard for the safety of the people they were smuggling. Fortunately, our agents were able to remove them from that potentially life-threatening situation.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face