Human TraffickingMigrationNews

Migrants rescued from locked toolboxes

U.S. Border Patrol Agents have disrupted 25 human smuggling events rescuing 170 migrants in the last seven days.

The most significant events occurred on June 30 at 10:10 a.m. when Border Patrol Agents assigned to the Ysleta Station checkpoint encountered a black Chevrolet Silverado pick up on Texas Highway 62/180 East.

Upon a routinely immigration inspection, Border Patrol Agents were alerted by a K-9 agent to the back of the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was a U.S. Citizen who was sent to secondary inspection who admitted possession of a personal amount of marijuana and a handgun pistol. Agents questioned the individual on the content inside two toolboxes in the trunk stating that he did not have the keys.

The driver was subsequently arrested and agents were able to open the toolboxes finding three adult males from Honduras inside those oxygen restricted containers without any means to escape.

Fortunately, the smuggled migrants were medically evaluated, and found in good health condition. The driver will remain in custody and will be charged with 8 USC 1324, Conspiracy to Transport.

In another event on June 28, a concerned citizen called the Santa Teresa Border Patrol station advising of a white SUV picking up people off of Highway 9 near mile marker 120, an area known for human smuggling.

The Santa Teresa Anti-Smuggling unit responded and encountered the white SUV, heavily laden, driving east on Highway 9. An immigration stop was performed on the vehicle, and agents encountered 15 smuggled migrants crammed inside the vehicle. Small children (with parents) were also located inside the SUV. All subjects were medically evaluated. All migrants were from Mexico and expelled back to Mexico under T42. The driver, a U.S. citizen, was processed and charged with human smuggling.

And again on June 24th, Border Patrol Agents assigned to Deming Station along with New Mexico State Police encountered 37 migrants that were smuggled in five different vehicles.

New Mexico State Police authorities were conducting a temporary DUI traffic checkpoint on Highway 26 when vehicles were observed trying to go around the checkpoint inspection. Upon intercepting and stopping these vehicles, New Mexico State Police officers searched the five vehicles and discovered they were transporting smuggled migrants. NMSP officers immediately notified Border Patrol Agents who took custody of the migrants illegally in the United States.

These latest events add up to more than 590 human smuggling incidents disrupted by U.S. Border Patrol Agents of the El Paso Sector since the start of Fiscal Year 2022.

“Endangering human lives by using dangerous and despicable smuggling tactics is the modus operandi of transnational criminal organizations. Many times smuggled migrants are locked in confined spaces with restricted oxygen,” said El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “I am extremely proud of the actions of our El Paso Sector Border Patrol Agents as they often encounter high risk situations, where if not for their dedication and intervention, events as these would turn into tragedies. Our Border Patrol Agents are true heroes as they display compassion and professionalism everyday.”

These incidents are under investigation. No other information regarding the cases is available at this time. Further information will be release as it become available.