Texas Sheriff’s Deputies Rescue Suffocating Migrants from U-Haul Truck


On Monday, a dispatcher working for the Refugio County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) answered two 911 emergency calls coming from a local convenience store. The distressed callers described cries for help and banging noises coming from the back of a U-Haul cargo rental truck.

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched and located the truck. The deputies found 34 migrants trapped inside the cargo compartment. According to the RCSO deputies, the passengers were suffering from severe dehydration and risked suffocation. The rear of the truck was extremely hot and unventilated, affording the migrants little air to breathe.

The group of 34 migrants consisted of mostly adult males, but the deputies noted some minors in tow. Due to the condition of the migrants, RCSO deputies summoned their county EMS and Volunteer Fire Department. The deputies also called for law enforcement backup and medical assistance from neighboring Victoria County.

Refugio County deputies transferred custody of the 34 migrants to Border Patrol for processing. The driver of the cargo truck was arrested and now faces charges of Smuggling of Persons with Serious Bodily Injury and/or Likelihood of Death as well as Smuggling of Persons Under 18 Years of Age.

The charges, under Texas law, are considered second-degree felonies and carry a term of imprisonment ranging from 2-20 years, as well as a fine not to exceed $10,000. The charges can be upgraded to first-degree if serious bodily injury or death occurs.

Refugio County is located along the Texas Gulf Coast, 46 miles north of Corpus Christi. The county seat is more than 180 miles from the U.S.-Mexico Border.

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.