Hotel Owner in Brooks County Says Illegal Immigrants Are Frequent Problem

Posted: Mar 29, 2012 6:53 PM
Updated: Mar 29, 2012 6:59 PM

FALFURRIAS - We're taking a closer look at some of the places illegal immigrants are hiding out in Brooks County, just to the north of us. They're a lot different than the stash houses we're seeing here in the Valley.

Get around the Border Patrol checkpoint, past the rugged brush of Brooks County and into the city of Falfurrias, and illegal immigrants are almost home free.

"And they come in. They drop them off. If they get past the checkpoint, they've pretty well got it made," says Robert Smith.

Smith says human smuggling here is out of control.

"It's an ongoing thing. They catch them here every day," says Smith.

Smith built the Antler Inn more than 30 years ago.

"It wasn't even a problem back then. Now, it's a problem," says Smith.

He never dreamed the place he built to offer travelers a good night's rest would turn into a temporary stash house.

They just come down until their ride shows up," says Smith.

Brooks County sheriff's deputies recently rescued nine illegal immigrants from two rooms at the Antler Inn. Deputies tell us illegals only stay in Falfurrias hotels and homes for a few hours.

"Oh no. They've never here more than a day. ... They're everywhere. They'll hide in the old storage units. They find a bunch of them in the old barbecue pit in there because it's closed," says Smith.

Smith and his family own these apartments on the south side of Falfurrias. Behind a dumpster in the back parking lot and around a fence, you can see old car seats. Smith says he's actually seen illegals sitting in them waiting to get picked up.

"There's chairs for them to sit on, seats out of Yukons and Suburbans," says Smith.

His apartment complex is just blocks from a Border Patrol station.

"We've got a lot of people here, a lot of law enforcement, and they work their butts off," says Smith.

He's left shaking his head

"There's so much they can do," says Smith.

Deputies know rescuing the illegals and putting their smugglers in jail won't stop the pipeline.

"It's something that it don't seem like we can stop them," says Smith.

The human trafficking here shows no signs of slowing down.

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