VON ORMY, Texas – Nine people are in custody and several others are detained following a human smuggling operation at a home in southwest Bexar County, according to Sheriff Javier Salazar.
The arrests, made Thursday afternoon in the 11200 block of Briggs Road, are the result of an ongoing investigation from the last couple of weeks.
The area is rural and typically quiet. However, during the last few weeks, there have been reported running gun battles and vehicle pursuits, among other organized crimes, Sheriff Salazar said.
BCSO’s organized crime group did surveillance in the area, eventually leading deputies to the home on Thursday.
Salazar said several stolen vehicles were being brought to the home, gutted and then used as transport for human smuggling from further south to northern states, such as New York.
Five vehicles caught leaving the residence were stopped, according to deputies. This included an 18-wheeler, trucks, SUVs and sedans.
Twenty-four people were detained, nine of which were deemed suspects in the smuggling operation, according to Salazar. Deputies also seized about $60,000 in cash.
The home was a “stash house” and had no furniture. But, Salazar said deputies found a sizeable altar to Santa Muerte, a known saint that is worshipped by drug cartels. He added that the altar finding could be indicative that the suspects are also smuggling drugs.
No drugs have been found at the site as of yet.
Deputies are still working the scene and further details are limited at this time.