EL PASO, Texas – El Paso Sector U.S. Border Patrol Agents in cooperation with law enforcement partners disrupted 20 vehicular human smuggling schemes rescuing 129 smuggled migrants this week.
The most significant of these events occurred on July 10, at 4:00 a.m., when Las Cruces Border Patrol Agents assigned to the I-10 immigration checkpoint encountered a Ford Excursion sports utility vehicle attempting to circumvent inspection. The driver failed to yield to agents as they were attempting to stop the vehicle. A vehicle immobilization device was used to bring the Ford Excursion to a stop on New Mexico Highway 549. When the vehicle came to a stop, agents observed several people flee on foot. A search of the area resulted in nine smuggled migrants encountered and a U.S. citizen, later identified as the driver of the vehicle. The migrants, who were from Mexico and Guatemala, were medically evaluated and processed accordingly. The U.S. citizen driver was detained and is facing charges for human smuggling.
The next day, the El Paso Sector Integrated Targeting Team, Santa Teresa Anti-Smuggling Unit, and Texas Department of Public Safety interdicted a human smuggling scheme resulting in the discovery of seven smuggled migrants crammed inside a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Agents performed the vehicle stop near Country Club Road and Westside Drive, in El Paso, Texas., discovering the migrants attempting to conceal themselves, along with a driver and a co-conspirator passenger. The migrants were processed and expelled to Mexico under Title 42, while two principals will face state charges.
On July 12, Border Patrol Agents assigned to the Deming Station discovered four vehicles travelling in tandem, on New Mexico State Road 146 with a total of 21 smuggled migrants. All individuals were from Mexico and Guatemala and were medically evaluated and then expelled under Title 42. All four drivers were from Mexico and awaiting prosecution.
Later that same day, agents assigned to the El Paso Sector ITT, Santa Teresa ASU, Texas Department of Public Safety and El Paso Police Department Gang Task Force disrupted a human smuggling scheme that began near Country Club Road in Santa Teresa. The encounter led to a vehicle stop that was performed near Country Club Road and Love Road, in El Paso, Texas, resulting the discovery of nine smuggled migrants inside a pick-up truck. The migrants from Ecuador, Mexico and Guatemala were expelled to Mexico under Title 42. The driver, from Mexico, will face state charges.
On July 13, the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station received information, from a concerned citizen, regarding a pickup truck possibly involved in a smuggling scheme and travelling on McNutt Road towards Sunland Park, New Mexico. The vehicle was subsequently encountered at the intersection of Sunland Park Drive and Doniphan Drive. A vehicle stop was performed resulting the discovery of seven smuggled migrants inside the vehicle along with the undocumented migrant driver. Texas Department of Public Safety took custody of the driver and will face state charges.
In the El Paso Sector, Border Patrol Agents have successfully prosecuted over 486 federal smuggling cases.
“The amount of human smuggling events that have taken place to date is highly concerning as Transnational Criminal Organizations continue to place migrant lives in danger exploiting our West Texas and New Mexico region for their illicit activity,” said El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “We could not be as effective as we have been at targeting these criminals without the cooperation of our law enforcement partners at the state, local and federal levels. This effective law enforcement partnership is one of the reasons why El Paso is one of the safest cities in America.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens are encouraged to report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol while remaining anonymous by calling 1-800-635-2509.