Truck Driver Cleared Of Wrongdoing “For Now” In Human Trafficking Bust
Bexar County, Texas – A truck driver remains under investigation after Bexar County authorities uncovered what they believe to be a human trafficking operation on Monday.
According to the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy was patrolling the area off of Rittiman Rd. and Goldfield in San Antonio when he observed a “large group” of individuals standing near a tractor-trailer.
The officer reported that when the individuals saw him they “scattered” and “hid in the shrubbery nearby.”
Suspecting this could be a human smuggling or sex trafficking operation, authorities then conducted an investigation and questioned the driver of the tractor-trailer.
According to investigators, the driver is a U.S. citizen and also a registered sex offender with residency in another state.
Upon further investigation, authorities said that the entire group of eleven persons are undocumented from Mexico and believed to be victims of a human trafficking or slavery ring.
Authorities called EMS to ensure that the victims did not require medical attention.
The group had not been given food or water in more than two days, according to the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities reportedly used personal funds to purchase food and water for the group.
Shoes were also provided to one young woman who was barefoot on the hot pavement.
Homeland Security and Investigations (HSI) was called in to assist with further guidance, and took over the investigation.
Each of the individuals was taken into custody and transported to the HSI field office for further investigation and determination of the needs of the group.
Authorities said the truck driver who is suspected to be involved in the alleged operation was released after his vehicle was searched by consent and cleared of wrongdoing “for now.”
“It’s a tragedy that these folks come here looking for a better life and, quite frankly, they’re preyed upon and taken advantage of—and they’re forced into modern day slavery,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the deputy’s actions helped saved the lives of several of these persons. A tragedy could well have been averted.”
Authorities said their investigation is ongoing.