According to a Thursday press release by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), law enforcement busted 17 illegal aliens while they were being smuggled into the United States.
The illegal aliens were part of an elaborate operation, and were found inside cargo that was being hauled by a flatbed truck in Freer, TX, northeast of Laredo.
“The event unfolded during the early hours of Feb. 7, when a canine alerted agents to a flatbed commercial truck hauling cement sacks, blocks and square tubing,” according to the press release.
When authorities searched the flatbed, the illegal aliens were not immediately present.
“Agents inspected the cargo and discovered a hollowed out space within the square tubing containing multiple individuals,” the press release said. “Agents successfully extracted the men and women from the confined space and determined that all were illegally present in the United States.”
All 17 illegal aliens were processed by law enforcement. They were from four different countries: Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico.
CBP said that it arrested the driver and impounded the vehicle.
Over a period of four days in January, CBP arrested 37 illegal aliens in three separate instances, all found hiding in the beds of tractor trailers among the cargo.
Two of the busts occurred at the Falfurrias checkpoint, southeast of Laredo, where authorities nabbed 11 illegal aliens in the first bust and 17 in the second. Both drivers were taken into custody in those incidents.
The third January bust was in Kingsville in the Rio Grande Valley, known for being highly-trafficked by illegal aliens. Nine illegal aliens were arrested during that incident, and were reportedly attempting to conceal themselves using boxes of produce.
Human smuggling is big business for vicious Mexican cartels, who are paid large sums for passage into the United States.
The process, though, is often dangerous.
As The Rundown News reported, three illegal aliens recently pleaded guilt to conspiring to smuggle 18 other illegal aliens into the United States last summer. During that incident, all 18 of the illegal aliens were crammed into a Chevrolet Suburban SUV which, when pursued by law enforcement, crashed. Six of the illegal aliens were killed.
The three human smuggling ringleaders face life in prison, and will be sentenced in April.
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