Human TraffickingMigrationNews

39 Arrests from Two U-Hauls at US RGV Checkpoints

US Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol (RGV) agents foil four smuggling attempts, resulting in 46 arrests.

On April 6, the Brownsville Border Patrol Station (BRP) received information of a Jeep Cherokee picking up possible noncitizens.  A BRP agent located the vehicle and attempted a vehicle stop.  The Cherokee came to an abrupt stop, multiple subjects bailed out, and quickly sped off sparking a vehicle pursuit.  Agents were called to the area of the bail out where five migrants, citizens of Mexico and Honduras were arrested.  The Cherokee was later found abandoned and the driver was not located.

RGV agents, with the assistance of Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers working near San Manuel, attempted to conduct an immigration inspection on the occupants of a black Dodge Journey. The driver failed to yield, and a pursuit ensued. A CBP Air and Marine Operations helicopter reported the vehicle came to a stop multiple subjects bailed out.  A search of the area resulted in the apprehension of the driver and a passenger, both U.S. citizens. DPS took custody of the driver and passenger.

A few hours later, a K9 alerted to the cargo area of a U-Haul box truck at the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint in the primary inspection lane.  Agents conducted a search of the cargo area and discovered seven illegally present migrants, citizens of Guatemala and Mexico, hidden underneath blankets. The rear door of the truck was latched shut, effectively locking the people inside.  Record checks on the driver, a U.S. citizen, revealed he was arrested by the Humble Police Department in 2004 on charges related to assault causing bodily injury of a family member, convicted, and sentenced to 20 days incarceration. He was also previously charged and served two years for assault causing bodily injury in 2007. Brooks County Sheriff’s Office took custody of the driver to face state charges.  All subjects were found to be in good health.

At the same time, another U-Haul box truck was encountered at the Javier Vega Jr. Checkpoint in Sarita. As agents were walking with the U.S. citizen driver from the secondary inspection area to the waiting area, the driver attempted to run away. A search of the cargo area revealed 30 migrants, one of which was a Salvadoran 17-year-old unaccompanied female. The remainder were citizens from Central America and Mexico and unlawfully present in the U.S. All the subjects were in good health. The driver and migrants were placed under arrest.