LAS CRUCES, N.M. — U.S. Border Patrol Agents assigned to an immigration checkpoint in Las Cruces, New Mexico, encountered a tractor-trailer smuggling 69 migrants during the early hours of Sept. 30.
Las Cruces Station Border Patrol Agents, assigned to the immigration checkpoint located on Interstate 25, observed a white tractor-trailer with one visible occupant, enter the primary lane for inspection. Due to the driver’s inconsistent story and nervous behavior, agents referred the driver to the secondary inspection lane to further investigate.
Further questioning led to the agents gaining access to the back of the trailer where 69 migrants were discovered. Agents also seized more than $11,000 found inside the trailer. The 69 migrants were determined to be amenable to expulsion under Title-42. The United States citizen driver was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to be prosecuted for the smuggling scheme.
This tractor-trailer is the second smuggling scheme encountered in September by El Paso Sector Border Patrol Agents. The first event occurred on Sept. 17, when Border Patrol Agents, joined by HSI, rescued 131 migrants found inside a tractor-trailer near Anthony, New Mexico.
Transnational Criminal Organizations continue to recklessly endanger and exploit large groups of migrants for profit. This failed smuggling attempt is an alarming and continuous trend seen in the El Paso Sector.
“These type of nefarious acts by Transnational Criminal Organizations operating in the El Paso region prove once again the complete disregard for the lives of migrants” said El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “I am extremely proud of the extraordinary work done by our Las Cruces agents and our HSI partners. Our agents joint response prevented a horrific tragedy from occurring.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens are encouraged to report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol while remaining anonymous by calling 1-800-635-2509.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.