Gravel Dump Trucks Carrying Migrants are Trending near West Texas Border

Dimmit Carrizo Load

Dimmit County Sheriff deputies are encountering a new trend from human smugglers over recent weeks using gravel dump trucks to move larger migrant groups through the region.

On Sunday, deputies attempted a vehicle stop near Big Wells, Texas. The driver stopped and ran onto a nearby ranch to escape. When deputies inspected the cargo area of the belly dump truck, where more than 60 migrants were found. Deputies were able to locate and arrest the driver.

The migrants were turned over to Border Patrol agents in Carrizo Springs. The case remains under investigation and the driver faces human smuggling charges. The migrants will be processed for removal.

Less than two weeks ago, deputies pursued a similar vehicle that eventually crashed through a ranch gate before coming to a stop. The driver and an estimated 40 people were observed jumping out and running into the ranch. Deputies, Border Patrol agents, and CBP air support found and arrested 34 migrants. The driver managed to elude apprehension.

Gravel trucks routinely travel through the county transporting materials for road improvements at oil and gas exploration sites. Separating the conventional from illicit loads is no easy task for deputies.

The emergence of the trend only adds to the volume of daily smuggling incidents for the department. As deputies thwart larger smuggling attempts, they were also involved in four car chases involving migrants last week.

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.


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