LAREDO, TEXAS – Despite the dangers, agents assigned to the Interstate Highway 35 (I-35) checkpoint north of Laredo continue to apprehend large numbers of individuals found in commercial vehicles in attempts to smuggle them into the United States.
The latest incident occurred during the late afternoon of October 7, when a tractor-trailer approached the checkpoint. During an immigration inspection of the driver, a Service canine alerted to the trailer. Agents referred the vehicle to secondary inspection, where they discovered 100 individuals concealed inside the refrigerated trailer with an interior temperature of approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
All of the individuals were medically screened and evaluated, but none required further medical attention. They were determined to be illegally present in the United States from the countries of Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. None were wearing Personal Protective Equipment. The individuals along with the driver, a U.S. citizen with an extensive criminal history, were taken into custody pending investigation by Special Agents of Homeland Security Investigations.
Both the tractor and trailer were reported as being stolen and were recovered by the Webb County Sheriff’s Office.
This is yet another incident that is indicative of the criminal element involved in the smuggling of people into the country for profit. They have no regard for the safety of the people they exploit while also endangering our agents and communities. Laredo Sector Chief Patrol Agent Matthew J. Hudak stated, “We continue to see dangerous tactics being used by smugglers, including packing 100 people into a tractor trailer. As COVID-19 remains a threat to our agents, our healthcare workers, and the public, smugglers continue to knowingly irresponsibly put everyone at risk in order to make a profit.”
The men and women of the Laredo Sector will remain vigilant as they carry out the U.S. Border Patrol’s mission of protecting the American people, safeguarding our borders, and enhancing the Nation’s economic prosperity.
To report suspicious activity such as alien and/or drug smuggling, download the “USBP Laredo Sector” App or contact the Laredo Sector Border Patrol toll free at 1-800-343-1994. If you see something, please say something. You can also follow us on our social media platforms on Twitter and Instagram @usbpchieflrt and @usbpdepchieflrt and on Facebook at US Border Patrol Laredo Sector.