300 Migrants Rescued from Tractor-Trailers in Southwest Texas in One Week

Laredo North Station Border Patrol agents apprehend 54 illegal aliens, including two juveniles, locked in a tractor-trailer in South Texas. (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Laredo Sector)
Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Laredo Sector

Border Patrol agents in the Laredo Sector have rescued nearly 300 migrants in semi tractor-trailer compartments over the last seven days. The trailers, often unventilated, can serve as death traps in the scorching south Texas heat. As temperatures rise, the Border Patrol often struggles to interdict and rescue the migrants before it is too late.

On the I-35 corridor near Laredo, Texas, the Border Patrol employs K-9 teams, non-intrusive x-ray scanners, and old-fashioned interview techniques to thwart human smugglers. On Thursday, more than 100 migrants were found in one event at the I-35 checkpoint after a K-9 alerted to the vehicle. Outside temperatures peaked above 99 degrees. The migrants were locked in the unventilated trailer.

On Wednesday, agents discovered more than 40 migrants in another incident at the same checkpoint. What was particularly alarming about this human smuggling endeavor was the presence of a small child, accompanied by his mother. In three other events at the same location on Monday, agents removed more than 110 migrants from tractor-trailer compartments.

Although the Border Patrol has undertaken efforts to prevent this type of smuggling, it is still like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. Customs and Border Protection estimates more than 2 million commercial vehicles enter the United States through Laredo every year. The area also draws domestic truckers from all over the country. It is not easy to build a profile.

A CBP spokesperson tells Breitbart Texas the agency also works with the Texas Department of Public Safety in a program known as “Texas Hold-Em.” This penalizes commercial drivers who are caught attempting to smuggle humans or other contraband by revoking their commercial vehicle license for life.

This dangerous method of human trafficking is not new. In April 2018, a federal judge sentenced 61–year–old Louisville, KY, truck driver James Matthew Bradley, Jr. to life in prison without parole for his role in a migrant smuggling operation which resulted in 10 deaths. Bradley was arrested after a truck he was driving was found abandoned in a San Antonio, Texas, parking lot in 2017.

The current border surge has created a strain on an already stretched border enforcement agency. The Border Patrol is increasingly tasked with the processing and care for thousands of asylum-seeking migrants and unaccompanied children.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.