LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered 69 migrants sitting inside a semi-truck traveling through Las Cruces on Thursday.
Federal agents made the discovery at an immigration checkpoint on Interstate 25, where the white truck pulled up for inspection. Agents say the driver gave an inconsistent story and exhibited nervous behavior prompting a further review of the vehicle.
Agents then opened the trailer and found the migrants sitting inside the cargo area. Authorities say the migrants could be deported under Title 42, which gives federal health officials powers during a pandemic to take extraordinary measures to limit the transmission of an infectious disease.
The policy allows for asylum-seekers and border crossers to be deported to Mexico quickly citing COVID-19 as a concern.
Border Patrol says Thursday’s incident is the second smuggling scheme agents have discovered recently. The first was in September when a semi-truck was caught carrying 131 undocumented migrants inside its cargo area.
“These type of nefarious acts by transnational criminal organizations operating in the El Paso region prove once again the complete disregard for the lives of migrants,” Gloria Chavez, El Paso sector chief patrol agent said.