Border Patrol agents assigned to the Freer Station checkpoint on United States Highway 59 intercepted another dangerous human smuggling attempt involving a tractor hauling a belly dump trailer west of Freer, Texas.
The episode occurred during the early morning of October 1, when the vehicle approached the checkpoint. While agents were conducting an immigration inspection of the driver, a Service canine alerted to the vehicle. The driver was referred to secondary inspection. A search of the trailer led agents to discover 29 individuals in the trailer. None had any personal protective equipment (PPE) and all were immediately medically evaluated. They were determined to be illegally present in the United States from the countries of Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala
The individuals and the driver, a U.S. citizen, were placed under arrest. Investigation into the case was turned over to Special Agents of Homeland Security Investigations. U.S. Border Patrol seized the tractor and trailer.
Human smugglers continue to have no regard for the safety and health of the people they exploit for profit. With a noted increase in COVID-19 infections among detainees, the transporting of large groups of people without PPE in close dangerous quarters such as this not only endangers the individuals, but the safety of our Nation as well. The Laredo Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol focuses on its enduring mission priorities of countering terrorism, combatting transnational crime, securing the border, facilitating lawful trade, protecting revenue, and facilitating lawful travel.