7 Arrested, 11Migrants Hospitalized in Texas Human Smuggling Scheme

Bexar County Sheriff's Office


9 Jun 2024

Bexar County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested seven people involved in an alleged migrant smuggling scheme that saw 11 migrants taken to a hospital in San Antonio, Texas on Thursday.

The migrants were discovered hidden in a concealed compartment in a goose-neck trailer outside a south San Antonio stash house. Deputies received a tip reporting the criminal activity earlier in the day and located the trailer as it arrived at the suspected stash house.

According to Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salinas, 11 migrants were treated at the scene and taken to an area hospital for heat exhaustion. They are expected to survive. The incident unfolded near Loop 1604 and Oak Island Drive on the city’s south side. In all, 26 migrants were pulled from the trailer.

7 Alleged Human Smugglers Arrested in Bexar County (Bexar County Sheriff’s Office)

According to Salinas, multiple suspects were seen fleeing the property as his deputies arrived at the scene. After a brief pursuit, several suspects were apprehended as were those involved in transporting the migrant victims in the goose-neck trailer. In all, seven suspects were arrested and are now facing charges related to human smuggling. Salinas says the case is being investigated by his department and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

At a press conference conducted at the scene of Thursday’s events, Salinas told reporters the migrants are suspected of having been inside the trailer for more than three hours as temperatures neared 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The migrants were being transported in the container with minimal ventilation and no source of water. One Guatemalan migrant is said to have paid $16,000 to be transported from the border region to San Antonio in the alleged smuggling scheme.

During the press conference, Salinas told reporters “It’s miserable conditions in there and it’s just blazing hot, fortunately, we were able to get to these people before any of them passed as a result.”
Deputies located several suspects inside the suspected stash house, where officers discovered several rifles and bulletproof vests. Several suspects will likely face charges related to the possession of the weapons in addition to charges involving human smuggling, according to Sheriff Salinas.

Thursday’s case is one of many encountered by Salinas’ deputies who patrol the I-35 corridor emanating from the border region in Laredo, Texas. Human smuggling in the corridor becomes more dangerous as the summer temperature rises. In June 2022, deputies responded to another south Bexar County smuggling case where 53 migrants died after being left inside a locked semi-tractor trailer.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, 42 migrants were declared dead at the scene, and eleven more perished in local hospitals after spending hours in the sealed trailer. Two men were arrested and charged in connection with that case.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.