LAREDO, TEXAS – Border Patrol agents assigned to the Hebbronville Station intercepted a dangerous human smuggling attempt involving a flatbed trailer at the checkpoint on Texas State Highway 359 west of Bruni, Texas.
The episode occurred during the early evening of December 7, when the pickup truck pulling a flatbed trailer approached the checkpoint. While agents were conducting an immigration inspection of the driver, a Service canine alerted to the vehicle. The driver was referred to secondary inspection. A search of the trailer led agents to discover 26 individuals hidden in a concealed compartment. None had any personal protective equipment (PPE) and all were immediately medically evaluated. They were all determined to be illegally present in the United States from the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The individuals and the driver, a U.S. citizen, were placed under arrest. Investigation into the case was turned over to Special Agents of Homeland Security Investigations. U.S. Border Patrol seized the pickup truck 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 such as this not only endangers the individuals, but the safety of our Nation as well. 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.