LAREDO, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Interstate Highway 35 (I-35) checkpoint stopped a human smuggling attempt involving a refrigerated commercial trailer north of Laredo, Texas.
The incident occurred during the early morning hours of January 6, when a commercial refrigerated tractor trailer approached the checkpoint. A Service canine alerted to the vehicle during inspection. The driver was referred to secondary, but disregarded agents’ instructions and continued to exit the checkpoint onto I-35 travelling northbound. Agents proceeded to perform a vehicle stop on the tractor trailer north of the checkpoint. The tractor trailer was escorted back to the checkpoint where a search revealed 126 individuals who were being transported in the refrigerated trailer. None of the individuals were wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). They were all medically screened and provided PPE.
The individuals were determined to be in the United States illegally from the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Ecuador. They were placed under arrest along with the driver, a U.S. citizen, pending further investigation by Special Agents of Homeland Security Investigations. The U.S. Border Patrol seized both the tractor and trailer.
Human smugglers continue to have no regard for the safety and health of the people they exploit for profit. With a noted increase in COVID-19 infections among detainees, the transporting of large groups of people without PPE in close dangerous quarters endangers the individuals and safety of our Nation. The Laredo Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol focuses on its enduring mission priorities of countering terrorism, combatting transnational crime, securing the border, facilitating lawful trade, protecting revenue, and facilitating lawful travel.
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.
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.