SAN ANTONIO – John Esparza, CEO of the Texas Trucking Association, says tough laws are in place to deter truck drivers from getting involved in human smuggling or trafficking.
“If you’re found to be guilty and knowingly involved in human trafficking, smuggling... it’s a death sentence for your license. You will never get to drive a truck again,” he said.
Esparza says great efforts have been made since 9/11 to get truckers involved in reporting criminal activity, since they are exposed to so much on the road.
“You’ve got an angel network of drivers out there, literally heroes of the highway that want to help,” he said.
He says Thursday’s incident in which 41 people were discovered inside a semi truck on the Northeast Side of San Antonio, is a good reminder of why everyone on the road needs to be vigilant, especially with summer around the corner. “Lives are at stake,” he said.
On Thursday, police say several calls were made to report a suspicious maroon truck near I-10 and Foster Road. Some reported seeing a hand waving from inside the truck.
The first responding officer reported back to dispatch, seeing a swarm of people take off running.
The Department of Justice said 49-year old Aron B. Griffin is charged with human smuggling in connection to the case. He told investigators he was paid to pick up people from Laredo and drive them to San Antonio.
Esparza says there’s been great efforts made to educate truck drivers on how to properly respond to suspicious things they see, even by calling a hotline where dispatchers can take information in like a police dispatch so that truckers don’t have to wait around for police to show up, since oftentimes they are on a time crunch.
To learn more information about how truck drivers can get more training to stop criminal activity, visit their website here.