Big Rig Human Smugglers Use Hay Bales and Secret Compartments in Latest Plots
Laredo, TX – United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents have disrupted multiple big rig human smuggling operations in the last couple weeks.
CBP says that human smuggling operations using semi-trucks is increasing even amid the COVID-19 border restriction policies.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most recent busts.
U.S. Trucker Arrested When 24 Individuals Discovered
The first was on June 15 at the Interstate 35 Border Patrol checkpoint north of Laredo.
The incident occurred late in the evening when a white tractor hauling a white trailer approached the I-35 checkpoint and a service K-9 alerted to the trailer.
A search of the trailer led agents to discover 24 individuals hidden inside, all illegally present in the United States from the countries of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. One was later determined to be a convicted felon.
The individuals and the driver, a U.S. citizen, were taken into custody pending investigation.
The vehicle was seized by U.S. Border Patrol.
U.S. Trucker Arrested After a Dozen Mexican Nationals Found Hiding in Hay
On June 18, CBP agents assigned to the I-8 checkpoint near Pine Valley, CA arrested 12 illegal immigrants who were being smuggled within a hay-stack on a tractor-trailer.
The incident occurred at approximately 3:30 p.m. when a man driving a white tractor-trailer loaded with hay bales approached the I-8 checkpoint.
While the primary agent conducted an immigration inspection, a Border Patrol K-9 alerted to the middle section of the trailer.
Once in secondary, agents inspected the hay-stack load and discovered 12 people hidden inside a void within the stacks of hay.
All 12 were safely removed from the hay-stacks.
All were adult male Mexican nationals.
The driver, a 46-year-old U.S. citizen, was booked for alien smuggling.
The tractor-trailer was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
U.S. Trucker Busted Smuggling 61 People From Mexico and Guatemala
Back in Laredo, CBP agents foiled several human smuggling attempts within a span of a few days last weekend.
On June 19, agents discovered 22 Mexican nationals hidden inside a big rig attempting to enter the U.S.
The 22 individuals along with the driver and a passenger, both U.S. citizens, were taken into custody pending further investigation.
The tractor was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
The trailer was found to be reported stolen and was turned over to the Webb County Sheriff’s Office.
Then, the next morning, a white tractor-trailer approached the I-35 checkpoint and a Service K-9 alerted agents.
A total of 61 individuals were found inside the trailer.
CBP indicated they were from the countries of Mexico and Guatemala.
None required immediate medical attention.
The individuals and the driver, a U.S. Citizen, were taken into custody pending further investigation by Homeland Security Investigations.
Both the tractor and trailer were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
11 Mexican Nationals Found Concealed Within Hidden Compartment in Roof of Trailer
The final incident happened during the early morning of June 22, when agents at the checkpoint on U.S. Highway 59 encountered a box truck with a visible driver and passenger.
When agents opened the back of the vehicle they discovered a hidden compartment in the roof.
Inside were 11 individuals from Mexico.
The individuals, along with the driver and passenger, both U.S. Citizens, were taken into custody pending further investigation.
The vehicle was turned over to the Duval County Sheriff’s Office.