Border Patrol agents assigned to the Cotulla Station while working with local law enforcement, foiled six human smuggling attempts and recovered a stolen vehicle during a very busy 12-hour period. The incidents yielded over 30 individuals that were apprehended during these human smuggling incidents.
The first incident occurred late afternoon on March 1, when agents received information of a white SUV being used to transport illegal aliens into the United States. As agents approached Encinal, Texas, they spotted the vehicle that had been stopped by Encinal Police Department (EPD). The vehicle fled the scene and EPD pursued before it came to a stop just east of Interstate 35 (I-35) on Highway 44 (Hwy 44). The individuals inside attempted to abscond into the brush, but a total of five individuals, including the driver, were apprehended by the agents. All were illegally in the United States and from the countries of Mexico and Honduras. The vehicle was seized by EPD.
Later that evening, agents received a call for assistance from EPD about a vehicle they had conducted a vehicle stop on near the 41-mile marker on I-35. The occupants absconded into the brush before agents arrived and apprehended three individuals. All individuals were illegally in the U.S. and from the country of Mexico. The vehicle was seized by EPD.
Less than an hour later, agents responded to suspicious activity regarding a black pickup possibly involved in human smuggling near Highway 83 (Hwy 83) and Hwy 44 but were not able to locate it. This information was relayed to Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and La Salle County Sheriff’s Office (LSCSO) and they encountered the vehicle on County Road 3408 before going through a ranch fence. Agents arrived on-scene and apprehended seven individuals who are illegally in the country from the countries of Guatemala and Mexico. Records checks revealed the vehicle had been reported out of San Antonio.
A short while later, agents responded to a call for assistance on traffic stop conducted by Dilley Police Department (DPD) at approximately the 84-mile marker on I-35. An immigration inspection on the occupants of the vehicle revealed eight individuals illegally in the U.S. from the country of Mexico. The driver, a U.S. citizen, was arrested pending further investigation. The vehicle was seized by DPD.
Agents responded to a second call for assistance by DPD approximately two hours later. Agents took custody of four individuals who are illegally in the U.S. and are nationals of Mexico. The driver and passenger, both U.S. citizens, were arrested pending further investigation. The vehicle was seized by DPD.
The last incident in this timeframe occurred early the next morning. Agents responded to a request from the DPD with a traffic stop at the I-35 88-mile marker. Upon arrival, agents took custody of the occupants for further investigation. Six individuals are illegally in the U.S. and nationals of Mexico while the driver and passenger are U.S. citizens. DPD seized the vehicle.
Stolen vehicles are continued to be used by human smuggling organizations to commit their dangerous activities as they have no regard for the safety of their passenger or the traveling public. Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents rely on strong partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies to combat human smuggling.