LAREDO, TEXAS – Laredo Sector Border Patrol has encountered a dangerous trend of weapons being encountered during human smuggling events. Within 24 hours, three weapons were seized in three separate events involving human smuggling.
The first incident occurred during the late afternoon of January 10, when agents from the Freer Station acted on an alert of several individuals traveling by foot in a ranch just east of State Highway 16. With assistance from Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations, they were able to apprehend five individuals on a walking trail in the brush. During a search of the individuals, agents discovered a backpack that contained a loaded shotgun. All of the individuals were in the United States illegally and from the countries of Mexico and Guatemala.
The second incident occurred on the afternoon of January 11, when agents along with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Webb County Constables Precinct 2 (WCCO), acting on the information gathered during an investigation, conducted a knock and talk at a residence located on Zapata Highway in south Laredo. A total of nine illegal aliens from the countries of Mexico and Ecuador were found inside the residence. One other individual, a United States citizen, who was involved in the human smuggling event was also taken into custody. During the encounter, agents discovered a stolen shotgun with rounds of ammunition in the house.
The final incident occurred during the late afternoon of January 11 at the Interstate Highway 35 (IH-35) checkpoint, when a tractor-trailer approached the primary inspection lane. A Service canine alerted agents to the commercial vehicle and the driver was referred to secondary. Agents discovered and took into custody 12 individuals in the cab that were in the United States illegally from the countries of Mexico and Guatemala. It was revealed that the U.S. citizen driver had an outstanding warrant for Contempt of Court out of Loving, New Mexico. Also seized was an unregistered loaded handgun that was found inside the tractor.
Human smugglers are willing to use illegal weapons to conduct human smuggling events of individuals in groups without PPE that not only endangers the people being smuggled, but the safety of our Nation. The Laredo Sector is made up of agents who partner with their law enforcement counterparts and continue to meet the Enduring Mission Priorities of the agency to counter terrorism, combat transnational crime, secure the border, facilitate lawful trade and travel while protecting revenue.
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.