La Salle County Sheriff deputies responded to frantic 911 calls from migrants being smuggled in a semi-tractor trailer near Encinal, Texas, on Friday. Dispatchers could hear screams from migrants trapped inside the closed trailer traveling north and away from the border on Interstate 35. When the vehicle was encountered, two migrants were dead and 111 were apprehended after an exhaustive search.
Breitbart Texas spoke with a law enforcement source who said 111 were found last Friday and Saturday after the incident took place. Some migrants fled from the vehicle after it was abandoned. The source says the vehicle, a commercial tractor-trailer, was finally located near Artesia Wells after a multi-agency search.
The calls were tracked by the 911 operators between Encinal and Cotulla, Texas. Officers were dispatched from multiple agencies and finally located an abandoned tractor-trailer and began the rescue operation, providing emergency treatment for approximately 30 migrants.
According to the source, one migrant inside the trailer and another outside were declared dead by a justice of the peace. Authorities believe that as many as 150 to 200 migrants may have been smuggled in the container.
Apprehensions were made on Saturday, several miles from the incident at a rest area on Interstate 35. The source says the driver was not found and the case was referred to the Department of Homeland Security Investigations office (HSI).
The source says as temperatures rise, this type of human smuggling is the most dangerous method. Temperatures in the region have steadily risen beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
La Salle County sits on a major U.S. Interstate and historically has been known by law enforcement as a major smuggling corridor for humans, narcotics, and southbound weapons. The route stretches from Laredo, Texas, 1,500 miles to Duluth, Minnesota. The interstate can see at least 200,000 vehicles per day in this area, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
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.