EDINBURG, Texas — Border patrol agents in South Texas have some pretty wild stories about the weird ways criminals try to smuggle in people and drugs.
But they say one case this week was downright dangerous.
A K9 alerted them that something wasn’t right, so they did a more detailed inspection. That’s when they found 12 undocumented immigrants trapped inside a rigged compartment under the trailer.
Smugglers had packed the immigrants inside the aftermarket compartment and screwed boards over the outside to hide them.
Agents found a drill in the pickup and used it to unscrew the boards and free the people from El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
They appeared to be in good health and were taken into custody.
Earlier that day, agents in Rio Grande City found 38 men, women and children inside a stash house. They group included four unaccompanied juveniles.
They told the agents they’d been mistreated by the smugglers and hadn’t eaten in days.
By Thanksgiving night, the agents had taken 156 undocumented immigrants into custody in four days.
“Even with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, human smugglers continue to try these brazen attempts with zero regard for the lives they endanger nor to the health of the citizens of our great nation,” the border patrol said in a statement.
The Rio Grande Valley Sector currently has multiple campaigns focused on rescues and danger awareness, such as “Operation Big Rig” and “No Se Arriesgue” (Don't take chances) to combat smuggling and potentially save lives.
“They’re humans, not cargo!” they said in a statement.