Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol agents arrested an alleged human smuggler and apprehended 34 migrants packed in a tractor-trailer. The interdiction occurred at the Falfurrias Immigration Checkpoint located on U.S. Highway 281 in Brooks County, Texas.
Falfurrias Station agents assigned to the interior immigration checkpoint observed a tractor-trailer approaching for inspection. During an interview with the U.S. citizen driver, a Border Patrol K-9 alerted to an odor in the trailer it is trained to detect, according to information obtained from Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol officials.
The agents referred the driver to the secondary inspection area. A physical search of the trailer led to the discovery of 34 migrants locked inside with limited air circulation and no means of escape in the event of a crash or abandonment by human smugglers.
The agents conducted a medical evaluation of each of the 34 migrants. They arrested the U.S. citizen driver and turned the case over to ICE Homeland Security Investigations special agents for further investigation. If charges are filed, they will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.
Rio Grande Valley Sector officials work with the Texas Department of Public to impose a lifetime disqualification for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) on any person who is convicted of transporting illegal immigrants.
This cooperation agreement with the Texas Department of Public Safety led to the permanent disqualification of 59 CDLs from convicted smugglers since August.
“Even with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, human smugglers continue to try these brazen attempts with zero regard for the lives they endanger nor to the health of the citizens of our great nation,” RGV officials said in a statement. “The U.S. Border Patrol agents of the Rio Grande Valley Sector will continue to safeguard the nation and community against these criminal elements.”