In a period of just over 30 hours, numerous human smuggling events were intercepted throughout the Laredo Sector’s area of operations that resulted in the arrest of over 100 individuals who were illegally in the United States.
The incidents cover a timeframe between the very early morning hours of October 21 through the mid-morning of October 22. The incidents involved the disruption of multiple stash houses, vehicle stops, checkpoint operations including commercial vehicles, train check operations, brush cases, vehicle bailouts, and the recovery of a stolen vehicle which was turned over to the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office. A total of 106 individuals from various countries were taken into custody during this timeframe in nine separate smuggling attempts and four instances in which several individuals were abandoned in the brush by their smugglers.
The recklessness of many of these events highlight the lack of regard human smugglers have for the safety and wellbeing of the people they exploit for profit. In the stash house and load vehicle cases, people were crammed into small confined spaces in large groups without any personal protective equipment, exposing them to the potential spread of COVID-19 infection. In many of the load vehicles encountered, failures to yield followed by bailouts were commonplace. In these stops, people were found piled on top of one another in attempts to conceal them in the vehicles. One such vehicle was stopped on U.S. Highway 83, north of San Ysidro, Texas. Agents discovered 16 individuals packed so tightly that some at the bottom of the pile were having difficulty breathing. They immediately asked for assistance due to the high temperatures in the vehicle and lack of water.
In another incident north of Cotulla, Texas, 19 individuals were apprehended on a freight train. Laredo Sector Chief Patrol Agent Matthew J. Hudak said in a statement, “We continue to see smugglers put the lives of illegal aliens at risk, whether it be through the use of commercial vehicles, freight trains, or other dangerous conveyances. Our agents have seen aliens sustain major traumatic injuries from trains. I hope smugglers and aliens recognize how dangerous this is before someone loses their life or is severely injured.”
Ninety-two of the 106 individuals were from Mexico. The other 14 were from the countries of Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador, and El Salvador. The U.S. Border Patrol encourages the public to take a stand for our communities and help us by reporting crimes and suspicious behavior. Together we can make our nation a safer place and people’s lives can be saved. Additionally, we can bring callous smugglers to justice by prosecuting accordingly. The agents of the Laredo Sector will remain dedicated to the agency’s Core Values of Vigilance, Service, and Integrity.