156 Migrants Apprehended in Smuggling Attempts near Border in Texas

Rio Grande City Station Border Patrol agents find a group of migrants locked in an apartment near the Texas border with Mexico. (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Rio Grande Valley Sector)
Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Rio Grande Valley Sector

Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol agents arrested 156 migrants during a four-day period ending on Thanksgiving. They recovered the migrants from life-threatening smuggling incidents.

While Americans across the nation celebrated Thanksgiving, Border Patrol agents assigned to the Javier Vega, Jr. Immigration Checkpoint on U.S. Highway 77 observed a box truck arriving for inspection. A K-9 alerted to an odor it is trained to detect coming from the locked cargo area of the truck. Agents referred the driver to a secondary inspection area, according to information obtained from Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol officials.

At secondary inspection, agents removed the padlock and searched the cargo area of the truck. The agents observed several pallets of cardboard boxes. They searched further and found five people hiding between the pallets.

Agents removed the five people and identified them as illegal immigrants from Brazil and the Dominican Republic, officials stated.

Two days earlier, agents assigned to the same checkpoint observed a Ford pickup truck hauling a flatbed trailer approaching for inspection. The station’s K-9 alerted to an odor coming from the flatbed trailer indicating the possible presence of drug or human cargo, officials stated.

The agents referred the driver to a secondary inspection area and discovered an aftermarket compartment underneath the trailer. Smugglers covered the compartment with boards by screwing them down to the trailer.

Using a drill found in the driver’s possession, the agents removed the boards and found 12 people who were locked inside with no means of escape in the event of a crash or being abandoned by the smugglers.

Agents identified the 12 illegal immigrants as citizens of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.

On Thanksgiving Eve, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper contacted Border Patrol for assistance in a traffic stop near Palmview, Texas. The trooper told the McAllen Station agents the driver of a Ford Explorer fled into the brush.

A search of the Explorer led to the discovery of five people hunkered down inside. Agents identified the five people as being illegally present in the United States. Officials did not disclose the nationality of this group. A search of the area did not lead to the arrest of the driver.

On Tuesday afternoon, Rio Grande City Station agents teamed up with local police officers to conduct a welfare check on a suspected human smuggling stash house. Law enforcement officials entered the apartment and found 38 people being held inside. Agents identified four as unaccompanied juveniles.

Some of the arrested migrants reported being abused by the smugglers. They also said they had not eaten in three days. Officials did not find any human smugglers at the scene.

Officials said RGV Sector agents arrested 96 more migrants in four separate human smuggling interdictions on Wednesday.

“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,” officials said in a written 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.”

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 Sunday-morning talk show, What’s Your Point? Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Parler @BobPrice, and Facebook.

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