U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Interstate Highway 35 (I-35) checkpoint stopped a human smuggling attempt involving a refrigerated commercial trailer north of Laredo, Texas.
The incident occurred during the early morning hours of January 6, when a commercial refrigerated tractor trailer approached the checkpoint. A service canine alerted to the vehicle during inspection. The driver was referred to secondary inspection, but disregarded agents’ instructions and continued to exit the checkpoint onto I-35 traveling northbound. Agents proceeded to perform a vehicle stop on the tractor trailer north of the checkpoint. The tractor trailer was escorted back to the checkpoint where a search revealed 126 individuals who were being transported in the refrigerated trailer. None of the individuals were wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). They were all medically screened and provided PPE.
The individuals were determined to be in the United States illegally from the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Ecuador. They were placed under arrest along with the driver, a U.S. citizen, pending further investigation by Special Agents of Homeland Security Investigations. The U.S. Border Patrol seized both the tractor and trailer.