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34 migrants rescued from oxygen restricted containers

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El Paso Sector
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El Paso Sector Public Affairs Office (915) 834-8365, 8362, 8312, 8856

EL PASO, Texas – El Paso Sector U.S. Border Patrol Agents disrupted two smuggling attempts rescuing 34 migrants this week. 

The first smuggling attempt happened on March 27 when Border Patrol Agents assigned to the El Paso Station received information from a concerned citizen about a human smuggling scheme. The agents responded to the report finding a tractor trailer parked on the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stan Robert Sr Avenue. At the location, Border Patrol Agents encountered 15 adult migrants and one unaccompanied child crammed inside a cargo container with little ventilation. 

The migrants were rescued from the cargo container, medically evaluated, and transported to the station to be processed accordingly.  The migrants amenable to Title 42 were expelled to Mexico while others were transported to the Central Processing Center. The driver was referred to the El Paso Sector Integrated Targeting Team and the State of Texas Department of Public Safety as part of an ongoing interagency investigation.

The second smuggling incident happened on March 29, at 1:30 a.m., when U.S. Border Patrol Agents from the Las Cruces Station assigned to the Hwy-185 checkpoint encountered a U-Haul pick-up truck and U-Haul trailer with 17 adult migrants and one unaccompanied child. The migrants were found crammed inside the trailer without ventilation.  Upon further investigation, Border Patrol Agents were able to connect the smuggling scheme to another driver that had previously crossed the checkpoint minutes before. The driver of a blue sedan was later apprehended with a 9mm handgun found inside his waistband, an AK-47 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, and a flare gun in the trunk of the vehicle.

These migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua were medically evaluated, and processed accordingly. The truck driver, the U-Haul pick-up truck driver and the driver of the blue sedan remain in custody and will face charges under 8 USC 1324, Conspiracy to Transport. 

These latest events add up to approximately 525 smuggling schemes disrupted by U.S. Border Patrol Agents of the El Paso Sector since Fiscal Year 2022 began. 

“Ruthless human smugglers continuously endanger human lives as one of their tactics is to smuggle migrants in confined spaces with restricted oxygen,” said El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “I am extremely proud of the actions of our El Paso Sector Border Patrol Agents as they often encounter situations, where if not for their involvement, events as these would turn into tragedies.  Our Border Patrol Agents are true heroes as they display compassion and professionalism everyday in our very complex mission of border security.”

These incidents are under investigation. No other information regarding the cases is available at this time. Further information will be release as it become available.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens are encouraged to report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol while remaining anonymous by calling 1-800-635-2509.

 Follow us on Twitter at @USBPChiefEPT and @CBPWestTexas.

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Last Modified: May 13, 2022