Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents apprehended another 54 migrants locked in a tractor-trailer rig. The arrest occurred at an interior immigration checkpoint located about 70 miles north of the Texas-Mexico border.
Laredo Sector Border Patrol officials noted the apprehension is part of an increasing trend where cartel-connected human smugglers dangerously lock illegal immigrants in the rear of a tractor-trailer. The migrants are locked in with little-to-no air circulation, no bathroom facilities, and no means of escape in the event of abandonment by the smugglers or a crash.
Laredo North Station agents assigned to the Interstate 35 Immigration Checkpoint observed a white tractor-trailer rig approaching for inspection on Monday morning, according to information provided by Laredo Sector officials. During an initial screening, a K-9 alerted to an odor near the rear of the trailer it is trained to detect. The agents directed the driver to a secondary inspection station.
During a physical search of the trailer, agents found 54 people, including two juveniles, locked inside the hot trailer. The photo provided by CBP officials shows the cramped conditions and the danger posed by the heavy-tire cargo that would slide around in an emergency stop or crash.
Agents identified the 54 migrants as having traveled to the United States from Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. The agents placed the driver and his passenger, both U.S. citizens, in custody pending an investigation to be conducted by Homeland Security Investigations special agents.
In less than a week, Laredo Sector officials apprehended 102 migrants who were being smuggled in tractor-trailers at this single checkpoint.
“As temperatures rise, the Laredo Sector continues to see an increase in the number of individuals willing to put their lives in danger by being smuggled.,” Laredo Sector officials stated.
During an interview with Breitbart Texas in April, Laredo Sector Chief Patrol Agent Felix Chavez said smuggling in tractor-trailers is up significantly this fiscal year.
During the first seven months of Fiscal Year 2020, which began on October 1, 2019, Laredo Sector agents apprehended 1,071 migrants in motor-vehicle related incidents. This is up from 669 during the same period in FY19, the chief said. The use of tractors increased by 38 percent when compared to the previous year.
Chavez stressed that illegally crossing the border and the entire human smuggling process is very dangerous. He cited the callous treatment of migrants by the Mexican cartels and others engaged in the human smuggling process.
“They have no respect for human life,” the chief said, “even during the COVID-19 pandemic. To them, these people are nothing more than human cargo.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face