Nearly 200 People Caught in Recent Big Rig Busts As Border Smuggling Surge Continues
Edinburg, TX – Human smugglers are continuing a surge of using big rigs to transport people illegally into the United States.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), nearly 200 people were apprehended attempting to illegally gain entry into the U.S. by big rig in Texas last week alone.
The first bust occurred at the I-35 checkpoint on March 24 at approximately 7:50 p.m. when trucker Jesse Doria Thomas approached.
According to court documents, CBP agents referred Thomas for secondary inspection after noticing the trailer he was hauling matched the description of one suspected of being involved in another recent human smuggling operation.
Upon further examination, agents discovered 123 people inside the trailer.
Thomas was arrested, but later old investigators he was unaware he was illegally transporting immigrants.
“Thomas stated he did not know what he was hauling and was not aware he was transporting undocumented individuals concealed inside the trailer,” the arrest affidavit said. “During the collection of biographical information, Thomas stated he has been a truck driver for 27 years and stated he did not verify the bill of lading or check the trailer when he picked up the tractor-trailer.”
Further, Thomas indicated he had received a call that morning offering him the haul from a yard in Laredo to the Fuel America Travel Center off of I-35, which he said he was to be paid $100 for the pick up and drop off.
Already This Week
On Tuesday, Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector Border Patrol agents discovered 60 illegal aliens in two tractor-trailer human smuggling busts.
CBP said the first occurred on Tuesday morning when Corpus Christi (CCT) Border Patrol Station agents received a call from a Wharton County Sheriff’s Deputy regarding a jack-knifed tractor trailer on US 59 and CR 216 east of Victoria, TX.
“The deputy was advised by a Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper that there were eight suspected illegal aliens in the cargo area of the tractor trailer,” CBP said in a release. “Two of the illegal aliens were injured during the crash and were taken immediately to a local hospital by emergency medical personnel.”
Those apprehended were determined to be in the country illegally and were transferred to the Corpus Christi Border Patrol Station.
Then on Tuesday night, Kingsville Border Patrol Station agents working at the Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint conducted an immigration inspection on the driver of a tractor-trailer and discovered 52 people hiding inside the belly dump portion of the trailer.
“The truck driver was placed under arrest and the 52 illegal aliens were taken into custody,” CBP said.
All of the subjects were medically screened, and no one required further medical attention.