Big Rig Smuggling Bust Leads to Discovery of Convicted Murderer and Stash House
Laredo, TX – A man previously convicted of murder was among more than 100 illegal migrants arrested as the result of a big rig smuggling bust near a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint last week.
The incident occurred around 1:40 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21 at the Interstate 35 checkpoint in Laredo.
Court documents reveal Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Customs Border Patrol (CBP) special agents received information regarding a suspicious semi-truck parked at the end of a cul-de-sac off Killam Industrial Boulevard, located off of I-35 near the U.S./Mexico border.
Documents state “several vehicles would approach the back of the trailer and then depart.”
Eventually, the truck made its way to the I-35 checkpoint at approximately 1:40 p.m.
Agents identified the driver as Reginald Brown Jr., a U.S. citizen.
Officials say a service K-9 alerted agents to the trailer and it was referred for a secondary inspection.
The secondary inspection revealed 58 migrants inside the trailer.
All were found to be illegally present in the U.S.
The individuals were determined to be from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
The tractor and trailer were seized by Border Patrol and all individuals, including Brown, were turned over to Special Agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further investigation.
Subsequent interviews revealed the existence of a “human stash house,” where individuals were being kept prior to their transport to the big rig.
Upon learning this information, agents with HSI, CBP and Laredo police set up surveillance to monitor the operation.
The stash house was described as a “small apartment,” located behind the main residence in the 2700 block of Mier Street.
Following a raid on the stash house and main residence, authorities located 46 individuals, each also illegally present in the U.S.
In a post-arrest interview, Brown allegedly told authorities he picked up the semi in San Antonio the morning of July 21 and arrived to Laredo at approximately 10:30 a.m.
Court documents state that Brown could not remember the name of the company where he took his trailer in Laredo, but claimed a second trailer was loaded to his tractor as he unloaded the first.
Brown stated the second trailer was “empty and sealed.”
The affidavit says Brown could not account for the time gap after leaving a gas station around noon and his arrival to the I-35 checkpoint at 1:40 p.m.
Also during the course of the investigation, one of the Mexican nationals located in Brown’s trailer, was discovered to have a previous murder conviction in Houston, TX.
The man’s identity was not released by authorities.
According to HSI agents, the man’s murder conviction carried a ten year sentence.
He was criminally charged for his “immigration violations” and remains in custody pending prosecution, CBP confirmed.
As a result of the checkpoint discovery of Brown’s semi, a total of 107 illegal immigrants were taken into custody, five of whom were juveniles.