48 migrants found in crowded stash house in Southern New Mexico, CBP says

Border Crime

Undocumented immigrants sit outside a suspected stash house in Chaparral, New Mexico in mid-September 2020. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Federal authorities found 48 undocumented immigrants crowded in a stash house during the weekend in Chaparral, New Mexico, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Wednesday.

U.S. Border Patrol agents learned of the stash house when they encountered seven undocumented immigrants near El Paso International Airport. The migrants provided information that led agents to the small town of Chaparral just north of the Texas-New Mexico state line.

In addition to the Border Patrol, agents with Homeland Security Investigations, and deportation officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement found and arrested 48 people from Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Agents said the smuggler is a permanent resident. Agents also arrested him and his wife, the release said. In all, agents arrested 57 people.

The group included men and women of all ages, as well as some children. A Border Patrol spokesman tells Border Report that agents are working to identify with whom those children are traveling.

“This incident demonstrates the continued exploitation by transnational criminal organizations who repeatedly use humans for profit regardless of the inherent risks including the potential for the spread of COVID-19 during the ongoing pandemic,” Gloria I. Chavez, the El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent, said in a statement.

Agents provided the migrants with facemasks, which is agency policy, the spokesman said.

The arrests come just weeks after border agents arrested 36 people in connection with a migrant stash house inside an apartment complex in El Paso’s Lower Valley. Border Patrol and HSI agents learned of that stash house after detaining three suspected undocumented immigrants Aug. 20, also near the El Paso airport.

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