Migrant Infected with COVID-19 Rescued from Rail Car Smuggling Incident

Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents provide emergency medical care for a COVID-19 infected illegal alien found in a grain hopper rail car. (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Laredo Sector)
Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Laredo Sector

Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents rescued a COVID-19-infected migrant who lost consciousness after being pulled out of a grain hopper rail car. Human smugglers packed at least 11 migrants inside the rail car as temperatures reached in excess of 106 degrees.

Hebbronville Station Border Patrol agents carried out a routine immigration check on a train located east of the town of Hebbronville, Texas. While the three agents conducted immigration inspections on the train, they observed several people jumping off the train and running into the brush, according to information obtained from Laredo Sector Border Patrol officials.

The agents inspected the grain hopper and found 11 people hiding inside. Officials report the temperature inside the rail car reached 106.3 degrees. None of the migrants packed inside the grain hopper wore masks or other COVID-19-related PPE.

As the agents started pulling the migrants out of the grain car, one became disoriented and appeared to need medical attention. That person collapsed and fell unconscious a short time later.

Agents trained as EMTs began immediate life-saving measures. They determined the man needed additional emergency medical treatment and called for a helicopter airlift to transport the illegal alien to a hospital. The man who Border Patrol officials say illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico is now in intensive care at a local hospital. Officials later learned the man tested positive for COVID-19.

This case illustrates a point made by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan on Friday. The commissioner said illegal aliens are no longer just risking their own lives to come to the United States.

In this case, the Border Patrol agents working this train, the helicopter aircrew, the emergency room staff, the ICU medical staff, and the other 10 migrants packed in the rail car have all been exposed to the coronavirus.

“With a noted increase in COVID-19 infections among detainees, smugglers continue showing their lack of regard for the safety of the people they exploit by placing them in compromising, cramped spaces without regard to high temperatures, PPE, or means of escape,” Laredo Sector officials stated. “In doing so, not only do they endanger those being smuggled, but they also endanger our agents and communities.”

Laredo Sector Chief Patrol Agent Matthew J. Hudak said, “If not for the lifesaving efforts of these agents, the outcome would have been more tragic.  Our agents put their safety at risk every day to enforce our laws and often have to rescue those who have violated the law.”

The ten migrants apprehended by the agents on the train have been placed in Border Patrol custody pending a medical screening and criminal background check.

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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