Thirteen People Smuggled in Sealed Cardboard Boxes
LAREDO, TEXAS – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Interstate Highway 35 checkpoint averted a human smuggling attempt after aliens were found hidden in cardboard boxes in a vehicle north of Laredo.
The incident occurred in the afternoon of October 3, when a commercial van approached the checkpoint. During the immigration inspection of the driver and front seat passenger, a Service canine alerted to the vehicle. The vehicle was referred to secondary inspection where agents discovered several tape-sealed boxes in the van’s cargo area. Upon opening the boxes, 13 individuals were found hidden inside. They were medically screened, but were not in need of further medical attention. The ambient temperature in the van was recorded as being 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The 13 individuals were determined to be illegally in the United States from the countries of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Ecuador. They were placed under arrest along with the U.S. citizen driver and passenger pending further investigation. The rental vehicle used was towed at the owner’s expense.
None of the individuals were wearing any personal protective equipment while concealed in the cardboard boxes. Despite the increase of COVID-19 infections among detainees, smugglers continue to endanger the people they exploit for profit. Laredo Sector Chief Patrol Agent Matthew J. Hudak said, “Once again we have seen a criminal human smuggling case in which smugglers packed illegal aliens inside enclosed containers, this time boxes. These inhumane conditions are totally contrary to every practice that our country is following to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and puts our agents and community at risk of infection.”
Agents of the Laredo Sector will continue their dedication to the U.S. Border Patrol’s mission of protecting the American people, safeguarding our borders, and enhancing the Nation’s economic prosperity.
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.