53 migrants found in refrigerated trailer in 1 of 3 smuggling attempts

Border Crime

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Agents found 53 undocumented immigrants inside a refrigerated trailer Wednesday at a Border Patrol checkpoint in South Texas.

A service dog alerted agents to the tractor-trailer as it approached the Interstate 35 checkpoint north of Laredo, Texas.

When agents opened the refrigerated trailer, they found 53 individuals from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, all present in the U.S. illegally, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection news release.

“This latest case is another dangerous example of how smugglers put the lives of migrants at risk to make a profit,” said Chief Patrol Agent Matthew Hudak of the Laredo Sector. “Our agents and our law enforcement partners will continue to target this smuggling method and prosecute the criminal organizations that use it.”

The Wednesday evening incident happened on the same day that agents found 27 individuals inside a box truck at a different checkpoint, and two days after Webb County sheriff’s deputies found 23 undocumented immigrants in the back of a tractor-trailer that had become stuck on railroad tracks.

A service dog alerted agents to the box truck when it stopped at the Border Patrol checkpoint Wednesday morning on U.S. Highway 83 northwest of Laredo.

The 27 individuals were undocumented immigrants from Mexico.

On Monday, the sheriff’s deputies responded to a tractor-trailer that had become stuck on railroad tracks on I-35. The deputies found 23 individuals in the trailer and requested assistance from border agents who determined that the individuals were from Mexico and Honduras and were in the country illegally.

In all three incidents, the drivers were U.S. citizens. According to the CBP news releases, special agents with Homeland Security Investigations are investigating the drivers arrested at the Border Patrol checkpoints. However, sheriff’s deputies arrested the driver whose trailer got stuck on the railroad, while Union Pacific Railroad Police seized the tractor-trailer. Border patrol agents seized the other vehicles.

All individuals in the country illegally were taken into Border Patrol custody.

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