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RGV Sector Border Patrol Agents Encounter Life Threatening Smuggling Tactics, Apprehend 156 Aliens in Four Days

Release Date: 
November 27, 2020

EDINBURG, Texas – Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector Border Patrol Agents successfully disrupted dangerous human smuggling attempts resulting in the arrest of 156 illegal aliens in four days.

Tuesday afternoon, RGV Sector agents received information of a residence being used to harbor illegal aliens. Border Patrol in coordination with the Rio Grande City Police Department conducted a welfare check on the identified Rio Grande City apartment. When law enforcement personnel approached the door, 38 subjects willingly exited and were taken into custody. The 38 subjects, including four unaccompanied juveniles, were determined to be in the United States illegally. Many subjects reported to have been mistreated by the stash house caretakers and complained that they had not eaten in three days. No human smugglers were located at that time.

Tuesday evening, a Ford pick-up truck hauling a flatbed trailer approached the Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint for inspection. The vehicle was referred to the secondary inspection area after a service K9 alerted to the vehicle. Agents performing a search of the trailer discovered an aftermarket compartment underneath the trailer. Further inspection revealed several subjects trapped inside the compartment as screws were used to fasten the boards from the outside. A drill, found in the driver’s belongings, was located and used to unscrew the boards and free 12 subjects. An immigration inspection of the 12 subjects determined they were all illegally present in the United States and from the countries of El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. All subjects were medically evaluated and found to be in good health. Border Patrol processed the cases and subjects accordingly.

Wednesday afternoon, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) requested Border Patrol assistance with a vehicle stop in Palmview, Texas. McAllen Border Patrol agents arrived on scene and were advised by DPS that the driver of a Ford Explorer had fled the scene, abandoning the vehicle on the side of the road. Law enforcement personnel searched the immediate area, however, the driver was not located. A search of the Explorer revealed five subjects hunkered down inside. Agents on scene determined the five subjects were illegally present in the United States.

Yesterday afternoon, a box truck arrived at the Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint for inspection. The vehicle was referred to the secondary inspection area after a service K9 alerted to the cargo area. At secondary, agents discovered the cargo door was secured with a padlock. Upon opening the box truck for inspection, agents observed several pallets of cardboard boxes stacked throughout the truck. Further inspection revealed five subjects hidden between the pallets. The five subjects were determined to be citizens of Brazil, and the Dominican Republic, all illegally present in the United States.

Additionally, RGV agents arrested 96 illegal aliens on Wednesday in four separate human smuggling events.

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!”   

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