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Human Smuggling on the Rise in the Rio Grande Valley New Year, Same Tactics

Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV) Border Patrol agents, along with state and local law enforcement departments, interdicted seven smuggling events leading to 36 arrests, including four rescues from under a Port of Entry bridge.

On December 31, Kingsville Border Patrol Station (KIN) agents working at the Javier Vega Jr. Immigration Checkpoint apprehended four migrants from a tractor trailer. Agents referred the vehicle to the secondary inspection area following a K-9 alert and discovered the migrants in the trailer concealed between pallets of produce. The driver, and migrants who were unlawfully present in the U.S., were placed under arrest.

Later that evening, Falfurrias Border Patrol Station (FLF) agents at the Falfurrias Immigration Checkpoint arrested a U.S. citizen driving a Ford Explorer and three passengers, who were unlawfully present in the U.S. Agents found a gram of methamphetamine on the driver who was then turned over to Brooks County Sheriff’s Office to face state charges.

On January 1, Harlingen Border Patrol Station discovered four migrants stuck on a pillar underneath the Los Indios, Texas, Port of Entry bridge. The Harlingen Fire Department assisted to safely lower the subjects from the pillar.

On January 2, McAllen Border Patrol Station agents, responding to illicit activity in Los Ebanos, observed two vehicles departing a known human smuggling location. The two vehicles failed to yield after agents attempted to conduct vehicle stops. Additional agents, a CBP Air and Marine Operations helicopter, and Sullivan City Police Department responded to assist the vehicle pursuits until the occupants of both vehicles bailed out near Sullivan City. Agents apprehended 19 migrants unlawfully present in the U.S. The drivers were not located.

Later that night, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers advised FLF agents they observed a Dodge Durango load up suspected migrants and were engaged in a vehicle pursuit. Agents responded and assisted with the pursuit. The vehicle drove through three ranch fences before coming to a stop, when two occupants bailed out. They were not located.

Also on January 2, KIN agents conducted a vehicle stop on a vehicle after it made a U-turn just before arriving at the Javier Vega Jr. Immigration Checkpoint. Agents determined the driver and three passengers were unlawfully present in the U.S. and were placed under arrest. Agents seized a loaded 7.62 semi-automatic rifle in the vehicle. The driver was turned over to Kenedy County Sheriff’s Office.

All subjects were processed accordingly.   

“I am very proud of the tremendous work performed by our Border Patrol Agents in the Rio Grande Valley in 2022.  I’m elated to see that our Agents kicked off 2023 with the same dedication and vigor as they have always! RGV agents work around the clock to target illicit activity in our border region everyday increasing safety in our communities,” said RGV Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez.