A smuggler transporting people and drugs through Brooks County left behind his smart phone that he used to track his road trips into other parts of Texas.
Danny Davila, a veteran investigator with the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office, said the digital diary was loaded with photos and video over an unspecified amount of time.
“This one cell phone is the most I’ve ever seen,” Davila said. “This one kid, he just kept filming himself and everything they were doing,” Davila said.
He said cell phones often are found in abandoned vehicles following pursuits that end in bail-outs.
“They like to take pictures of themselves with the drugs or the vehicles they drive or even the routes they’re taking,” Davila said.
Davila said he was struck by the apparent ages of the smugglers, also judging by their behavior on camera.
“Some of them are real young kids,” Davila said. “A lot of times, it’s them living it up.”
He said as an example, some of them are clowning around on miniature ponies, one with a large yellow Hummer in the background.
But Davila said some of the most disturbing images are those of young women, some unaware they are being photographed, given the risk of sexual assault by their smugglers.
One of them was a young woman riding between two smugglers, with a load of people in the backseat.
He said she either was sound asleep or possibly drugged.
“I hope she was returned to her family and was not forced into prostitution,” Davila said. He said the fate of all those shown is unclear.
Davila said local and federal authorities have reviewed the images as possible evidence in related cases.
“If they want to help put that type of information on their phones, we’ll be glad to seize them,” Davila said.
He said they tried to show how easy it is to make money, smuggling human cargo
However, Davila said the smuggler failed to capture the reality he sees in Brooks County, 129 immigrant bodies recovered in 2012, six more already this year.