Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers discovered eight illegal aliens locked inside the cargo area of a U-Haul truck. Some were near death as outside temperatures in the area climbed to more than 100 degrees.
A DPS trooper stopped a U-Haul truck traveling east of El Paso, Texas. The trooper discovered eight locked inside the cargo area of the truck. The trooper observed one of the migrants to be unconscious and called for assistance. The other seven migrants appeared to be in early stages of heat exhaustion and dehydration, exhibiting symptoms including profuse sweating, information obtained from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) by Breitbart Texas revealed.
“Though the stopped occurred later in the afternoon, temperatures in the area were around 105 degrees,” CBP Public Information Officer Rush Carter told Breitbart Texas in a phone interview. “The inside temperatures could easily have reached 120 to 140 degrees. It was a very dangerous situation. They were locked inside the back of the truck with no way to escape or get fresh air.”
Only five water jugs to be shared by eight people could be seen inside the cargo area.
Emergency medical personnel and U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived on the scene and began providing life-saving treatment to the distressed migrants. The migrants responded positively to the treatment and Border Patrol agents placed them in custody.
“This was clearly a precarious situation, and could very easily have turned life-threatening,” Big Bend Sector Chief Jesse Shaw said in a written statement.
Once taken to the station for processing, agents determined the nationality of the migrants, all adult males, to be: three Brazilians, one Salvadoran, one Guatemalan, one Honduran, one Ecuadorian, and one Mexican.
Agents turned the case over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations special agents for further investigation and possible prosecution.
During an April speech to U.S. Border Patrol agents and CBP officers in southern Arizona, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised increase prosecution of human smugglers, especially where aggravated circumstances like this exist, Breitbart Texas reported. In a memorandum addressing the issue, Sessions called for “prosecution for any case involving the transportation or harboring of illegal aliens with prioritization of cases involving the smuggling or harboring of three or more aliens. Aggravating circumstances would also be considered for prioritization including cases where aliens receive serious bodily injury, physical or sexual assault, or the death of any person.”
Previously, the Obama Administration had arbitrary threshold numbers that had to be met (i.e. the number of aliens being smuggled) before a smuggler would be prosecuted.
“History shows that harsher penalties are pursued in cases such as this when smugglers put people in dangerous places, and particularly when they are locked inside with no way to escape on their own. The driver of the U-Haul and any co-conspirators are expected to face this enhanced prosecution.” Carter confirmed to Breitbart Texas that the driver is a U.S. citizen.
In July 1987, 18 illegal aliens were found dead in a steel-walled boxcar in the same area. The aliens bordered the train in El Paso and were locked inside by their human smugglers, the Los Angeles Times reported. “They appear to have gotten excessively hot. Some appeared to have gone into convulsions . . . and they were dehydrated,” then-Assistant Chief Patrol Agent told reporters. One man survived by punching a hole in the floor of the boxcar and breathing fresh air from below.