On Thursday, U.S. Border Patrol announced that agents working in collaboration with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) discovered 131 migrants in a tractor-trailer and an additional 11 migrants in a Sport Utility Vehicle near Anthony, New Mexico.
“Transnational Criminal Organizations continue to place the lives of migrants at risk,” said El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “Our seamless partnership with HSI El Paso has allowed for enhanced targeting of this illicit activity. Glad we were able to rescue this large group of migrants who were placed in grave danger in the back of a tractor-trailer.”
According to officials, on September 17, agents from the Ysleta Border Patrol Station got a tip about potential human smuggling attempt from HSI. Nearby agents spotted two vehicles traveling together with a tractor-trailer pull over and stop on a frontage road near Anthony, New Mexico.
“Agents approached the first vehicle to check on the occupants. Eleven migrants were located inside the vehicle. Two United States citizens were in the second vehicle, officials shared. “The driver of the semi-truck granted Ysleta agents access to the trailer of the semi-truck where 131 migrants were discovered.”
Officials say a total of 142 non-citizen migrants were apprehended. They add that this failed smuggling attempt is one of the largest groups that has been found by El Paso Sector agents inside a tractor-trailer in recent memory outside of Border Patrol checkpoint operations.
“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is resolute in combatting the cross-border trafficking of undocumented noncitizens being smuggled across our southern border – from Mexico into the United States. Transnational criminal organizations pose a significant threat to our city as they profit off the exploitation of migrants without regard for their health or safety,” said Taekuk Cho, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the HSI El Paso Field Office. “HSI special agents will continue to keep our community safe by pursuing these nefarious networks.”