Sixty migrants who were piled together in unventilated trucks were rescued from sweltering temperatures during separate foiled human smuggling incidents this month in Texas, according to officials with U.S. Border Patrol.
Agents with the Laredo North Station stopped a U-Haul on Sunday afternoon and found “27 undocumented individuals in the unventilated cargo area of the moving truck,” authorities said in a statement this week. “The temperature inside the cargo compartments was a sweltering 106 degrees Fahrenheit,” officials said.
The migrants were from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, border patrol officials said. The U-Haul was stopped on Interstate 35 north of the Laredo Sector’s immigration checkpoint.
The migrants were placed under arrest, along with a passenger and driver who were both U.S. citizens. Authorities did not release the identities of the driver and passenger.
“Though human smugglers may try ways to attempt to avoid detection, our agents remain vigilant and committed to our border security and national security mission,” Chief Patrol Agent Matthew Hudak said in the statement.
Authorities also said none of the migrants were wearing personal protective equipment.
Also in Texas, at about 10 p.m. on June 10, border patrol agents with the Big Bend Sector foiled a human smuggling operation that included 33 undocumented immigrants who were found locked inside a box truck, officials said in a statement.
A dozen in the group of migrants “were suffering from heat related illnesses,” officials said, adding that they were treated at regional hospitals.
Agents were alerted of the possible scheme occurring at a McDonald’s. Agents then approached a Dodge Journey and U-Haul box truck, officials said.
“Upon opening of the cargo space there were 33 people who were close to perishing due to excessive heat and lack of fresh air in temperatures still hovering near 100 degrees,” the statement read.
Medical technicians are embedded in the unit, officials said. The agents immediately began a triage operation to determine who needed to be hospitalized and who could be treated on scene.
“Had our heroic agents not been able to free these trapped undocumented migrants, we could have seen 33 miserable deaths in this event,” Sean L. McGoffin, Big Bend Sector chief patrol agent, said in the statement. “Smugglers do not care what type of misery they put people through as they take their money.”
The migrants who recovered from their heat-related symptoms were processed according to the Big Bend Sector protocols. Personnel with Homeland Security Investigations are prosecuting the case, according to the agency.