25 Migrants Found in Tractor-Trailer at Checkpoint near Border in Texas

Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents rescue 25 migrants locked inside a tractor-trailer at the Interstate 35 immigration checkpoint on May 9, 2020. (Photo: Laredo Sector/U.S. Border Patrol)
Photo: Laredo Sector/U.S. Border Patrol

Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents disrupted a human smuggling attempt involving 25 migrants in a tractor-trailer rig. The interdiction occurred at the Interstate 35 checkpoint located between Laredo and San Antonio, Texas.

Laredo North Station Border Patrol agents assigned to the Interstate 35 interior immigration checkpoint on May 9 observed a white tractor-trailer rig approaching for inspection. During the initial inspection and immigration interview, a Border Patrol K-9 alerted to an odor coming from the trailer it is trained to detect. The agents referred the driver to a secondary inspection station for further investigation, according to information obtained from Laredo Sector Border Patrol officials.

The agents opened the locked trailer and found 25 people. The agents identified all 25 as illegal immigrants from Mexico, officials stated. The agents placed the Mexican nationals in custody.

Under Coronavirus protection protocols, the migrants will be medically screened, undergo a criminal background investigation, and, once cleared, will likely be returned to Mexico.

The agents arrested the driver and seized the tractor-trailer rig.

“Despite the ongoing international COVID-19 pandemic, alien smugglers endanger the lives of individuals they transport and put at risk the health and safety of our Nation,” Laredo Sector officials said in a written statement. “U.S. Border Patrol agents strive to prevent the flow of illegal immigration and slow the spread of COVID-19.”

During an interview in April with Laredo Sector Chief Patrol Agent Felix Chavez, the chief explained that the trafficking of migrants in tractor-trailers is on the increase in this sector. The rescue of migrants being smuggled in vehicles, including tractor-trailers increased from 669 during the first seven months of FY2019 to 1,071 during the same period this year.

This fiscal year, human smugglers began utilizing tractor-trailers at a higher rate. The chief said they have seen a 38 percent increase in the number of tractor-trailer human smuggling incidents over last year.

Chavez said the Laredo Sector is unique from most other Border Patrol sectors in that migrants crossing the border in this area are not looking to surrender to the first available agent. Rather, they are being smuggled in these types of events and being marched around checkpoints through the dangerous ranchlands of the region.

“We are inches away from the heat of summer,” he explained. “Crossing the river here is very dangerous as the lake continues to release water creating deadly currents. The desert-like ranches in this sector are dangerous and present a great risk for injury or death to the migrants being smuggled around checkpoints. Then, add the dangers of COVID-19 on top of all of that.”

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 Facebook.

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