Two Truckers Arrested in Separate Big Rig Human Smuggling Operations
Laredo, TX; Salton City, CA – Two more truckers were arrested in the last week on human smuggling charges after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents discovered dozens of individuals attempting to cross into the country illegally.
The first occurred on Thursday, April 30 at the Highway 86 immigration checkpoint in Salton City, CA at approximately 9:15 a.m.
A trucker drove a tractor-trailer to the checkpoint and while Border Patrol agents conducted an immigration check on the driver during primary inspection, a Border Patrol K-9 detection team alerted to the cargo area of the trailer.
The driver was referred to secondary for further inspection, CBP says.
Upon secondary inspection, agents discovered 21 people locked inside with no safety restraints and no way to extricate themselves from the inside.
Agents safely removed all of the subjects and conducted welfare checks.
The 50-year-old truck driver, who CBP did not identify, presented agents with a Legal Permanent Resident card as his own.
However, that document was later determined to be fraudulent.
CBP determined the driver to be illegally present in the United States.
The driver and all 21 individuals, which included 16 adult men, 4 adult women and 1 unaccompanied juvenile boy, were placed under arrest.
The driver is being held in federal custody pending criminal charges and each of the 21 individuals were removed from the U.S., CBP says.
U.S. Trucker and Passenger Arrested After 54 People Found in Smuggling Operation
On Monday, May 4, CBP discovered more than four dozen individuals inside the trailer of a big rig during an immigration inspection at the Interstate 35 checkpoint in Laredo, TX.
During the early morning hours a white tractor hauling a white trailer approached the I-35 checkpoint.
A Service K-9 alerted to the rear of the trailer.
Agents proceeded to open the trailer, and discovered 54 individuals, including two juveniles, all illegally present in the U.S. from the countries of Mexico, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Honduras.
The individuals, along with the driver and a passenger, both U.S. Citizens, were taken into custody pending investigation.
BIG RIG BORDER BATTLE NEWS
In just the last couple of weeks, CBP has indicated the Laredo Sector, as well as the El Centro Sector, continue to see an increase in these smuggling operations.
In fact, a total of 102 individuals in just the last six days have been discovered hidden within tractor trailers at the I-35 checkpoint.
In a recent statement, Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino, of the El Centro Sector, said that despite unprecedented cross-border travel restrictions due to the national emergency, human smugglers are continuing a “disturbing trend.”
“The increase in tractor-trailer smuggling continues to illustrate the total disregard that smuggling organizations have for the well-being of the people they are smuggling,” said Bovino. “Our agents will continue to work tirelessly in protecting the safety and security of all human life.”
Photo courtesy of CBP