An American driver has been arrested in Texas after Border Patrol agents found 53 illegal immigrants from Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, hidden inside a sweltering tractor-trailer, authorities said Friday.
Laredo North Station Border Patrol agents assigned to the Interstate 35 Immigration Checkpoint observed a tractor-trailer approaching for inspection in the northbound lane. During the initial interview with the driver, a K-9 agent alerted to an odor it is trained to detect. The agent referred the driver to a secondary inspection station for investigation, according to information obtained from Laredo Sector Border Patrol officials.
The temperature inside the trailer was recorded at 105 degrees at the time of the discovery, though no one required medical attention, according to the CPB.
Agents arrested the U.S. citizen and all 53 illegal immigrants, who they said would be "processed accordingly." Border Patrol seized the tractor-trailer.
It was unclear whether the driver is facing charges, but investigators called the incident a "human smuggling attempt."
Homeland Security Investigations is handling the case.
So far this fiscal year, Border Patrol agents rescued more than 3,000 illegal aliens from life-threatening situations during human smuggling attempts like the one described above, according to Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost.
“The harsh conditions smugglers expose them to often lead to severe injury or death. Tragically, too many have died while being smuggled,” the chief Border Patrol agent tweeted earlier this week.