281 Human Smuggling Stash Houses Busted in FY23 in Single Texas Border Sector

El Paso Human Smuggling Stash Houses (PHOTOS: U.S. Border Patrol, ICE-HSI)
PHOTOS: U.S. Border Patrol, ICE-HSI

El Paso Sector Border Patrol agents raided more than 280 human smuggling stash houses during the recently ended Fiscal Year 2023. The raids on the stash house operations in far West Texas and southern New Mexico led to the apprehension of more than 3,600 migrants who were in the process of being smuggled into the U.S. interior.

El Paso Sector Border Patrol officials report their agents participated in the disruption of 281 human smuggling stash house operations during FY23, which ended on September 30. This is up from approximately 240 the previous year — an increase of more than 17 percent. The El Paso Sector area of responsibility included the far western portion of Texas and the New Mexico border with Mexico.

During the stash house raids, agents apprehended 3,665 smuggled migrants, KFOX14 in El Paso reported. Officials report the migrants are frequently packed into overcrowded houses and other deplorable conditions.

Border Patrol agents frequently team up with ICE Homeland Security Investigations special agents and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers in prosecuting the raids, officials report.

“Homeland Security Investigation is tasked with identifying, disrupting, and dismantling terrorist and transnational criminal organizations that seek to exploit our trade, travel, financial, and immigration system,” HSI Special Agent in Charge Francisco Burrola told the local Fox affiliate.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott called the State Legislature into special session earlier this month to deal with this issue, among other border security issues. The Texas Senate Committee on Border Security moved quickly to unanimously approve Senate Bill 4 to the Senate floor for a vote, CBS Austin reported.

The bill, sponsored by State Senators Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton), Bob Hall (R-Rockwall) and Phil King (R-Weatherford), would subject the operators of a human smuggling stash house to a third-degree felony with a minimum sentence of ten years in state prison.

Senator Flores said the current penalties are not providing a “sufficient deterrent.”

“Operating a stash house will carry a five-year minimum term if used for smuggling trafficking or prostitution, it escalates to a third-degree or second-degree felony and the minimum sentence would rise to 10 years if it’s operated in a disaster area,” Flores explained. “Furthermore, if the bail escalates other offenses committed while smuggling such as assault, burglary, evading arrest to a third-degree felony and provides consecutive stackable sentencing.”

Penalties can be reduced by five years to those cooperating with human smuggling investigations. In addition, family members who are caught smuggling their relatives can also get a reduced sentence if they prove the familial relationship.

During Fiscal Year 23, the El Paso Sector led the nation in the apprehension of migrants crossing the border from Mexico. El Paso Sector agents apprehended more than 426,000 migrants — more than 20 percent of all migrants arrested along the southwest border with Mexico, according to unofficial Border Patrol reports reviewed by Breitbart Texas.

The Del Rio Sector finished the year in second place with the arrest of nearly 400,000 migrants. The Tucson, Rio Grande Valley, and San Diego Sectors rounded out the top five with 374,000, 338,000, and 230,000 respectively.

Bob Price is the Breitbart Texas-Border team’s associate editor and senior news contributor. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.


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