SAN ANTONIO – What initially appeared as a possible smuggling incident on the Southwest Side resulted in a misunderstanding after deputies were called to investigate an 18-wheeler and multiple people jumping out of it.
A deputy constable was flagged down around 4:30 p.m. Friday by a concerned citizen in the 2000 block of South General McMullen who saw people getting out of a semi-truck near an apartment complex, Sheriff Javier Salazar said.
The constable called for back up and detained some of the people until more agencies arrived.
An estimated 14 people were found at the scene, and Salazar said they were jumping out of the truck. It was later determined that they are a work crew for a demolition cleanup company based in California.
Twelve of the people are Cuba nationals and two are from Nicaragua, but all are here legally, Salazar said.
However, the group of people may not have permission to be working, Salazar added.
Homeland Security Investigations is conducting interviews to determine “if there is any criminal activity afoot,” Salazar said. The sheriff’s office is following HSI’s lead in the investigation.
Earlier this week, 53 migrants died after they were left in a tractor-trailer on a Southwest Side road. It’s being deemed as the largest mass casualty event in San Antonio history.
Salazar said since Monday’s horrific event, Friday’s incident caused quite a stir in a short amount of time.
“It seems as though the public, law enforcement, everybody is being more hypervigilant than usual,” Salazar said.