SIERRA BLANCA, Texas – Border Patrol Agents assisted a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) State Trooper in the rescue of eight illegal immigrants on Saturday. The subjects were locked in the cargo area of a U-Haul van that had been stopped on I-10, east of El Paso. Temperatures where well above 100-degrees earlier in the day.
Law enforcement personnel discovered that one subject was unconscious. The seven other immigrants were sweating profusely and suffering from the early stages of heat exhaustion and dehydration when they were removed from the van. All were treated on scene by Emergency Medical Services workers and released into Border Patrol custody.
"This was clearly a precarious situation, and could very easily have turned life-threatening,” Big Bend Sector Chief Jesse Shaw said.
Nationalities of the illegal immigrants in the load were diverse: Three Brazilians, one El Salvadoran, one Guatemalan, one Honduran, one Ecuadorian and one Mexican National.
This case was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso. History shows that harsher penalties are pursued in cases such as this when smugglers put people in dangerous places, and particularly when they are locked inside with no way to escape on their own. The driver of the U-Haul and any co-conspirators are expected to face this enhanced prosecution.
If you see illegal activity please report it by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT, Big Bend Sector Border Patrol 1-866-581-7549 or El Paso/New Mexico area Border Patrol 1-877-872-7435.