EDINBURG, Texas – Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV) Border Patrol continues to see migrants placed in dangerous situations by the Transnational Criminal Organizations.
Throughout the year, RGV agents have rescued numerous migrants from drowning in the Rio Grande, inhumane stash houses, locked refrigerated trailers, and those abandoned or lost in the vast brushlands. Additionally, they have rendered assistance to injured migrants following vehicle accidents or sustained while making entry.
The month of September presented unique dangers not commonly seen in the RGV. Migrants reported at least five incidents of robbery, near the riverbank, of money and personal belongings after they made an illegal entry. More than 30 migrants alleged during their apprehension, they were threatened with a knife or bat. In two of the events, they were robbed by a sole offender, the other events were orchestrated by a bandit duo. They stated they were released after turning over whatever they had of value.
RGV deployed additional agents and resources to the area and are working diligently with other law enforcement entities to identify and apprehend the individuals.
Additionally, individuals, male and female, continue to claim having been sexually assaulted at migrant stash houses or in the brush on both sides of the river. Individuals also claim the sexual assault happened in the brush while walking around the Border Patrol Checkpoints. Some victims reported the sexual assault was perpetrated by their own foot guide, others reported by individuals encountered in the brush after getting lost or separated from their group.
More than 215 migrants were encountered being smuggled in seven tractor trailer cases during the month of September. In four of the events, migrants were encountered in refrigerated trailers that ranged from 45 – 59 degrees Fahrenheit. A six-year-old child with her mother was among the groups and two migrants from the Dominican Republic were encountered in a trailer’s air dam. These trailers smuggling migrants are often encountered locked or closed from the outside. The inability to free themselves has proven detrimental to people’s safety as we have seen in the past where smugglers abandon the load vehicle and migrants lose their lives.
The TCO has continuously demonstrated their callous nature of putting monetary gains above regard for human life and safety. These dangers are not all inclusive of the risks associated to crossing illegally. With winter approaching, individuals being smuggled into the U.S. in these horrendous conditions are susceptible to serious injury or death. RGV urges migrants not to place their lives at risk attempting to cross illegally.