Feds Searching For Truck Drivers As Human Smuggling Problem Worsens
Laredo Texas – Federal authorities are searching for a truck driver they say attempted to smuggle 52 people into the U.S. through the Laredo North Station Checkpoint before fleeing.
U.S. Border Patrol Laredo Sector officials told Transportation Nation Network (TNN) that on June 2 a tractor-trailer was referred for a secondary inspection after a canine alerted authorities to possible drugs or humans inside the trailer.
According to Marcizo Ramos, special operations supervisor with the Laredo Sector, the truck driver blew through the secondary checkpoint and continued north on I-35.
Officers pursued the big rig along I-35 for approximately one mile when the truck driver pulled to the shoulder and abandoned the rig.
He fled into the brush as officers attempted to apprehend him. However, he was able to get away.
Officials then discovered 52 individuals inside the trailer.
Ramos told TNN that it was approximately 98 degrees F at the time and there was no way for those being smuggled to unlock the trailer from the inside.
It is unknown how long the individuals had been inside the trailer.
“It goes from an apprehension to a rescue. They could have been inside a tractor-trailer overnight or longer,” Ramos said.
Authorities have released photos of the driver and are asking the public to help identify him.
If you recognize him you are asked to call Laredo Sector Border Patrol at 1-800-343-1994.
This is the second such occurrence in the last month of a truck driver fleeing authorities after a human smuggling attempt at the U.S. southern border.
On May 10, another truck driver fled authorities at the U.S. Border Patrol Immigration Checkpoint located on U.S. Hwy 83 northwest of Laredo, Texas.
While interviewing the driver, who claimed to have no identification, a canine alerted to the odors of concealed humans and/or narcotics within the trailer.
After being referred for a secondary inspection, the driver fled on foot exiting through the passenger door and running into an adjacent field, according to authorities.
Agents proceeded to open the trailer and discovered a total of 120 people inside.
(CLICK on image below to read the entire report.)
Fortunately for all individuals found inside the trailer, the weather was unseasonably cool and conditions inside the trailer were bearable.
The individuals apprehended in the trailer consisted of 11 juveniles from Honduras and Guatemala, along with 109 adults, both male and females, from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador and Mexico.
Ramos confirmed to TNN the truck driver involved in this smuggling attempt is still at-large.
Smugglers “Constantly Changing Their Strategies”
In our interview with Ramos, he called the situation on the border a “humanitarian crises.”
In May, 132,887 people were apprehended between ports of entry on the Southwest Border, compared with 99,304 in the month of April, according to CBP.
As authorities have shifted resources to deal with record numbers of migrants attempting to cross into the U.S., Ramos said the smuggling operations are attempting to use the crises to their advantage.
CBP continues to face a worsening crisis at the Southwest border. In May, CBP apprehended or deemed inadmissible 144,278 individuals along the SWB—a 32% increase over the previous month. Details here: https://t.co/ru9AsalgPb pic.twitter.com/p8kcr5lZ7Y
— CBP (@CBP) June 5, 2019
“The smuggling organizations are constantly changing their strategies. We are continuing to be vigilant and we will do everything possible to ensure to prevent cases like these,” Ramos said.