More than 70 illegal immigrants being smuggled into the United States in travel trailers were apprehended by border agents conducting traffic check operations in Texas, officials announced on Thursday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement a total of 74 illegal aliens were discovered in two large travel trailers on Monday at an immigration checkpoint on Interstate 10 in Sierra Blanca—about 85 miles east of El Paso.
In addition, border agents also apprehended three U.S. citizens who have been accused of smuggling.
Two of the men were turned over to Texas police for questioning. The third American believed to be involved in the scheme has been identified as a juvenile. He was released again due to his age, the service said.
Authorities noted that the juvenile was driving one of the vehicles at the time of the traffic inspection.
The operation was conducted by agents in the Big Bend sector who encountered a suspicious vehicle pulling a large travel trailer.
“A non-intrusive K-9 inspection was performed on the vehicle, yielding a positive alert,” the CBP said. “The vehicle was then directed to the secondary inspection lane by agents.”
“A second vehicle pulling another large travel trailer was encountered shortly after agents began inspecting the vehicle and trailer in the secondary inspection lane,” they added. “Agents provided additional information on a second vehicle involved in the smuggling scheme to the Texas Department of Public Safety who performed a vehicle stop and identified multiple subjects concealing themselves in a travel trailer.”
The 74 illegal aliens were from countries that include Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Peru and were “processed accordingly.”
Laredo Sector Chief Patrol Agent Matthew Hudak shared X-Ray images on social media showing illegal immigrants packed inside compartments to show the dangers of such smuggling methods.
Imagine being locked in a metal toolbox, on a hot Laredo day. These images reveal how undocumented individuals are packed in compartments not meant to hold people and are tragic indications of the careless criminal organizations.
Share! Share! Share! pic.twitter.com/ifvbex5LXz
— Chief Patrol Agent Matthew J. Hudak (@USBPChiefLRT) July 14, 2021
“Imagine being locked in a metal toolbox, on a hot Laredo day,” Hudak said, noting that such compartments are “not meant to hold people” and are “tragic indications of the careless criminal organizations.”
Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Sean L. McGoffin praised the coordination and collaboration between agents from the Texas Department of Public Safety and CBP in a statement, explaining the services’ operation resulted in the rescue of many illegal immigrants held in a dangerous environment.
“Transnational criminal organizations recruit United States Citizens to facilitate their smuggling schemes, they continue to place lives in danger with little regard for their safety and well-being,” McGoffin stated.
CBP apprehended nearly 190,000 individuals illegally entering the United States in June, handily surpassing May’s approximately 180,000, which was the highest number seen in a single month in 21 years.
From NTD News