LAREDO, Texas – Laredo Border Patrol agents on Saturday found 78 illegal immigrants inside a locked refrigerated tractor-trailer along Interstate 35.
The 78 illegal immigrants were found in good health and identified as being from the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Brazil, Ecuador, India and the Dominican Republic.
The driver and passenger, both United States citizens, were arrested and the tractor-trailer was seized by Border Patrol. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is the lead investigative agency in this case.
“These criminal organizations continue to use tractor-trailers and view these individuals as mere commodities without regard for their safety," said Laredo Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent Jason D. Owens. "The blatant disregard for human life will not be tolerated. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to disrupt and dismantle these organizations and prosecute those responsible.”
After being encountered at the checkpoint on I-35 north of Laredo, the driver and passenger of the trailer were questioned regarding their immigration status and referred to secondary screening after a Border Patrol canine alerted agents to the presence of concealed humans and/or narcotics.
Agents instructed the driver to go to secondary inspection, but the truck failed to stop and continued north on I-35. An agent attempted a vehicle stop and the tractor-trailer came to a stop near mile maker 30 on I-35.
To report suspicious activity such as alien and/or drug smuggling, download the “USBP Laredo Sector” app or contact the Laredo Sector Border Patrol toll-free at 1-800-343-1994.