Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol troopers found 50 migrants crammed into the back of an enclosed commercial trailer. Troopers foiled the human smuggling attempt as they investigated reports of human trafficking in Laredo Wednesday. Two suspected human smugglers were arrested in connection with the event.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the 37 males, 11 females, and two juveniles were from Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, and Columbia. The migrants were turned over to Border Patrol for processing. Michael Young Cortez, of Dallas, and 21-year-old Dario Rodriguez, a Mexican national, were arrested and charged with smuggling of persons.
The case is being investigated by the Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division. The continuous arrests of human traffickers using commercial semi-tractor-trailers indicates a careless mindset toward the safety threats involved in riding in trailers.
Daily high temperatures in Laredo are still averaging nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Without adequate ventilation and refrigeration, the enclosed trailers can reach up to 150 degrees.
In June, 53 migrants died as a result of heat related illness and suffocation in San Antonio, Texas. That truck was also loaded in Laredo.
The smuggling of migrants in semi-tractor trailers is more common in Laredo since Interstate 35 stretches from there to Duluth, Minnesota. The corridor allows migrant smugglers the opportunity to blend in with roughly 200,000 vehicles a day.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, nearly 50 percent of the traffic on I-35 near Laredo is commercial, largely due to international trade route from Mexico.
The volume of traffic leaving Laredo has made thwarting smugglers a difficult task. Compounding the difficulty is a reduction in routine Border Patrol operations.
Agents are increasingly tasked with the processing and care for asylum-seeking migrants.
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.