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Drivers Facing Stiff Penalties under “Texas Hold ‘Em”

Release Date: 
August 20, 2020

EDINBURG, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents are working in conjunction with the Texas Department of Public Safety to reinforce consequences outlined in the “Texas Hold ‘Em” initiative.  

As the number of illegal alien apprehensions continue to rise in the South Texas, the U.S. Border Patrol have focused their efforts to curb the dangerous tactic of human smuggling while utilizing tractor trailers. Under the Texas Hold’em Initiative, when a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holder is convicted of alien, or narcotic, smuggling, the driver will be considered for disqualification from holding a CDL for life. The incident below led to the first successful CDL cancelation under the program this year in the Rio Grande Valley.

On March 16, 2020, agents working at the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint arrested a commercial driver after agents discovered six illegal aliens hidden inside the cabin of his tractor. The case was presented in a U.S. District Court where the driver, Ivan Garza, pled guilty to the offense and received five months confinement and will be on supervised release upon completion of his sentence. As a result of his conviction, DS will revoke Garza’s CDL for life.

The hard work and collaboration between United States Border Patrol agents, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, and the Texas Department of Public Safety were instrumental in this success.       

The Rio Grande Valley Sector currently has multiple campaigns focused on rescues and danger awareness, such as “Operation Big Rig” and “No Se Arriesgue” to combat smuggling and ultimately save lives. Call 911 to report suspicious activity; “They’re humans, not cargo!”   

The public is encouraged to take a stand against crime in their communities and report suspicious activity at 800-863-9382.

Even with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, human smugglers continue to try these brazen attempts with zero regard for the lives they endanger nor to the health of the citizens of our great nation.  The U.S. Border Patrol agents of the Rio Grande Valley Sector will continue to safeguard the nation and community against these criminal elements.

Please visit to view additional news releases and other information pertaining to Customs and Border Protection.  Follow us on Twitter @CBPRGV, @USBPChiefRGV and @USBPDepChiefRGV.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021