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June 13, 2018San Antonio, TX, United StatesHuman Smuggling/Trafficking

More than 50 illegal aliens discovered inside tractor trailer in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO — All 54 suspected smuggled aliens were rescued Tuesday night after being discovered inside a tractor trailer; one of those rescued remains hospitalized.

At about 8:30 p.m. (CDT), special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) responded to a call from a law enforcement agency requesting assistance on a possible human smuggling venture. HSI special agents responded to a location in San Antonio near highway 410 and Broadway. At the location, HSI discovered 54 suspected smuggled illegal aliens inside a tractor trailer. They included men, women and minors from the four countries of Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.

Medical assistance was provided to everyone on scene, including five who were transported to local hospitals. Of the five, four were treated and released; one remains in the hospital.

In addition to the 54 illegal aliens, HSI special agents also criminally arrested the suspected human smuggler, who is a U.S. citizen; he is expected to be federally charged with human smuggling.

"The people rescued from this tractor-trailer were very lucky to have been discovered before the Texas heat took its toll,” said Special Agent in Charge Shane M. Folden, HSI San Antonio. “We have recently seen how smuggled people have died under the dangerous circumstances human smugglers transport their human cargo. These horrific instances show how no one should trust their lives — or the lives of their loved ones — to these criminal organizations.”

HSI’s mission revolves around combating the cross-border smuggling of humans and a wide range of contraband including drugs, guns and currency. Through our investigations, HSI aims to systematically disrupt and dismantle the international and domestic operations of criminal travel networks, identify and seize assets and illicit proceeds, as well as identify systemic vulnerabilities that could be exploited by criminal organizations to undermine our legitimate immigration system and border controls.

Members of the public who notice suspicious activity should contact ICE on its toll-free tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE, or submit a tip at the following website:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Texas, has accepted criminal prosecution of the human smuggler suspect. This is an HSI-led investigation.