EDINBURG, Texas – Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol (RGV) agents disrupted five migrant smuggling attempts resulting in 36 arrests. These five migrant smuggling events occurred within a four-hour time frame in the morning hours of Feb. 23, 2022.
On Feb. 23, McAllen Border Patrol Station (MCS) agents received an anonymous tip about a black minivan and a black Chevrolet Camaro picking up possible migrants in Los Ebanos, Texas. A Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper spotted the two vehicles and attempted to initiate a traffic stop. Both vehicles failed to yield and two vehicle pursuits ensued. The pursuit with the Camaro ended when it struck a civilian vehicle near El Pinto Road. No injuries were reported at that location. Three unlawfully present migrants were apprehended: two from Honduras, and one from China. The United States citizen juvenile driver was also arrested. DPS took custody of the driver to charge him with human smuggling and evading with a vehicle.
During the minivan pursuit, the driver lost control and wrecked into a palm tree on U.S. Highway 83 near La Joya. Six of the seven noncitizens were transported to local hospitals to be treated for their injuries. DPS retained custody of the driver, a Mexican national, to charge him with human smuggling resulting in serious bodily injury, smuggling under the age of 18 years of age, evading with vehicle, evading on foot, and failure to stop and render aid.
Later that morning, RGV agents working near La Gloria, Texas, attempted to initiate an immigration inspection on the occupants of a gray Toyota Tundra pickup truck. The driver failed to yield and led the agents on a vehicle pursuit. The truck drove through a ranch perimeter fence before the occupants bailed out of the vehicle. Agents searched the surrounding area and apprehended two migrants unlawfully in the U.S. The driver was not located.
Shortly thereafter, DPS requested assistance from MCS agents with a vehicle pursuit near Palmview. Eight migrants unlawfully present in the U.S., to include the Mexican national driver, were apprehended. Two of the migrants were being transported in the trunk of the Ford Fusion. The driver will be charged at the state level for smuggling of persons and evading with a vehicle. The migrants were transported to a Border Patrol facility for processing.
Around the same time, RGV agents received information of a suspected stash house in Rio Grande City, Texas. RGV agents along with the DPS and Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), convened at the residence and encountered 11 people, determined to be in the United States illegally. The nationals of the Dominican Republic, India, and Mexico were placed under arrest without incident.