Homeland Security agent talks about San Antonio’s place in the human smuggling pipeline

“We’re just a hub for the next level of things to happen.”

San Antonio – The border may be hours away, but its issues extend to San Antonio, which a federal agent says can serve as a hub for human smuggling operations coming out of the border.

With three high-profile human smuggling cases in Bexar County in as many weeks, KSAT sat down on Friday with Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) Jeffrey Ryan.

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Feb. 1 - Tip from concerned citizen leads to discovery of human smuggling operation in southwest Bexar County

Feb. 11 - San Antonio police chase, catch more than 20 people in human smuggling case

Feb. 18 - Feds charge 7 in SW Bexar County human smuggling bust

“With (I-10) going East and West, and I-35 going North or South, you have kind of the perfect melting pot for organizations to use this as a staging point to either leave part of the load here - to relocate folks with their families here - or to separate them and take part to Houston, part to Dallas, part to further interior. It is very much so, I think, a transient location here where we’re just a hub for the next level of things to happen,” Ryan said.

The types of smuggling operations run the gamut.

“You have some mom and pops, all the way up to very sophisticated organizations. And then you have some that are strictly moving people, and then you have others that are opportunists and they’re moving whatever they can through whatever means possible,” Ryan said.

Similarly, while he says the use of tractor trailers is “huge” right now, smugglers in the area will also use small, passenger cars.

“Everything varies. Everything’s on the table when it comes to smuggling,” Ryan said.


About the Authors

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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