SANDERSON, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents working in conjunction with local area law enforcement apprehended multiple subjects involved in an alien smuggling scheme early November 2.
The enforcement activity began when Terrell County Sheriff Keith Hughes observed two suspicious vehicles at a convenience store in Sanderson. Utilizing technology purchased with Operation Stonegarden (OPSG) funding the Sheriff was able to quickly identify both vehicles as being from the Austin, TX area, which raised his suspicion further.
The vehicles, a Dodge pickup and a Chrysler 300 car, left the store heading east on Highway 90. Shortly thereafter, Sheriff Hughes encountered both vehicles parked on the side of the road a few miles east of town. The car had its trunk open and the Sheriff saw two people approaching the vehicles from the brush. Sheriff Hughes activated his emergency lights to make contact with the vehicles. The car fled east while the pickup remained.
U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Sanderson station arrived and initiated an investigation. They found that the driver of the pickup was a non-immigrant Mexican national with an expired employment authorization document who traveled from Austin to pick up illegal aliens. Border Patrol agents apprehended four illegal aliens in the brush near the spot of the encounter.
Approximately 20 miles east of Sanderson a Terrell County deputy encountered the car that fled and was able to take the driver into custody without incident. The driver was a U.S. citizen from the Austin area. He was alone in the vehicle.
All of the subjects were arrested and transported to the Sanderson Border Patrol Station for processing. The two vehicles were seized by the Border Patrol.
“The successful disruption of this smuggling attempt is a great example of the effectiveness of Operation Stonegarden and the partnerships between state and local law enforcement and the United States Border Patrol,” said Big Bend Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent, Victor M. Velazquez.
The OPSG Program supports enhanced cooperation and coordination among U.S. Customs and Border Protection, United States Border Patrol, and local, tribal, territorial, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. OPSG funds investments in joint efforts to secure the U.S. border along routes of ingress from international borders to include travel corridors in states bordering Mexico and Canada, as well as states and territories with international water borders.
Big Bend Sector agents patrol 510 miles of the southwest border which extends from Sierra Blanca, Texas to Sanderson. It is the largest Border Patrol Sector on the U.S-Mexico border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.