U.S. Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers (CBPOs), working with the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office (ZCSO), freed multiple individuals from a locked travel trailer in San Ygnacio, Texas.
The incident occurred late in the afternoon on September 21, when agents from the Zapata Station followed foot sign of several individuals that led from the Rio Grande River to a travel trailer parked about a tenth of a mile from the border. The agents observed that the trailer’s door was locked from the outside with a padlock. Suspecting that people may be trapped inside, agents requested assistance from the ZCSO.
Upon arrival, deputies conducted a welfare check at the mobile residence that confirmed 11 individuals were locked inside. The agents determined them to be Mexican nationals illegally in the United States. None were wearing any personal protective equipment (PPE). They were taken into custody by agents and CBPOs pending further investigation.
With a noted increase in COVID-19 infections among detainees, the smuggling and housing of large groups of individuals in stash houses and close quarters without PPE not only endangers the people being smuggled, but the safety of our Nation.