Inside the dangers immigrants face being smuggled across border

Smugglers often leave immigrants in extreme conditions

FALFURRIAS, Texas – As millions of immigrants have crossed the border, for many US Border Patrol agents they are reminded of the “Victoria 19.”

In 2003, 19 women and children were killed after agents found 79 immigrants packed into the back of an 18-wheeler.

RELATED: Zetas Cartel linked to fatal mass human smuggling case

“They were driven from the border in the Harlingen area all the way up to Houston,” Doyle Amidon said. “That was their final destination."

Doyle works out of the Falfurrias office for Border Patrol.

Inside the truck that day the temperature reached 174 degrees.

"Can you imagine being in something like this for three and a half hours?” Doyle asked.

KSAT and other members of the media were given a firsthand experience in what the conditions are like.

Sitting in the back of a tractor-trailer the temperature quickly rose. One reporter even needed medical attention when they were overcome by the heat.

While the reporters were able to get out, it is not the case for immigrants who often times spend hours trapped with no way out.

READ MORE: Human smuggling suspect could face death penalty, life in prison

It is why Doyle has this message.

"To the families of the folks in Mexico, in South America and in Central America that are making their trek up here, do not put your families and your kids in the hands of these people," he said.


Don't miss a thing. Get email alerts from KSAT 12 today.
Get alerted to news events as they happen or sign up for a scheduled news headline email that is delivered right to your inbox. Breaking news, severe weather, daily forecasts, entertainment news, all of the day’s important events to keep you up to date wherever you are.

Sign up today. It's Free.

*Editor’s note: This story was initially published in June 2016. It was republished after dozens of people were found inside a tractor trailer, many were clinging to life and at least 10 people died.