Two U.S. Truckers Arrested in Big Rig Smuggling Busts Involving Nearly 150 People
Laredo, TX – Two truckers were recently arrested and will likely face charges in connection to two big rig smuggling busts in Texas.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the first bust occurred at the U.S. Highway 83 checkpoint during the late evening of September 29.
A tractor-trailer approached the checkpoint and a service K9 alerted to the vehicle.
A search of the big rig led agents to discover 117 individuals inside the trailer, CBP reported.
All of the individuals were illegally present in the U.S. and from the countries of Mexico and Guatemala.
The individuals, along with the driver — who was a U.S. citizen — were taken into custody pending further investigation.
The second bust occurred during the early morning of October 1 at the Freer Station checkpoint on Highway 59.
A tractor hauling a belly dump trailer approached the checkpoint when a service K9 alerted to the vehicle.
The driver was referred to secondary inspection and a subsequent search of the trailer led agents to discover 29 individuals in the trailer.
CBP said no one had any personal protective equipment (PPE) and all were immediately medically evaluated.
They were determined to be illegally present in the U.S. from the countries of Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala.
The individuals and the driver, a U.S. citizen, were placed under arrest.
CBP seized the tractor and trailer.
Investigation into both cases were turned over to Special Agents of Homeland Security Investigations.
“Human smugglers continue to have no regard for the safety and health of the people they exploit for profit,” CBP said in a statement. “With a noted increase in COVID-19 infections among detainees, the transporting of large groups of people without PPE in close dangerous quarters such as this not only endangers the individuals, but the safety of our Nation as well.”