Photo courtesy U.S. Border Patrol

Tip leads law enforcement to save 17 migrants from human smuggler

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M.– U.S. Border Patrol agents received information regarding a possible smuggling scheme that led to 17 illegal migrants being rescued from a semi-tractor’s cab.

“The west Texas and southern New Mexico regions have seen an increase in the groups of individuals exploited on a near daily basis by transnational criminal organizations operating human smuggling rings,” said El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez.

“Due to a tip from a concerned citizen, we were able to stop a human smuggler. This successful apprehension was made possible with the
cooperation of our HSI and NMSP law enforcement partners assisting in the operation.”

According to officials, Border Patrol Agents assigned to the Truth or Consequences (TCN) Border Patrol station received information regarding a potential migrant smuggling attempt on May 20.

Shortly thereafter, agents saw a tractor trailer traveling north on Interstate 25 near mile post 77 near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

TCN Border Patrol Station agents, working with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and New Mexico State Police (NMSP) requested assistance to pull over the tractor trailer.

During the vehicle stop, agents discovered 17 migrants hidden inside the cabin sleeping area, after hearing the sound of ‘shuffling feet.’

All 17 migrants, along with the driver were transported to the Las Cruces Border Patrol Station for processing.

The U.S. citizen driver of the tractor trailer was taken into U.S. Border Patrol custody and is pending criminal prosecution.

Officials add that Homeland Security Investigation accepted the case for further investigation.