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Tag: Smuggling

Border Patrol Agents Accidentally Run Over Migrants, Killing One of Them, CBP Says

By Steve Neavling

A Honduran man was killed and another migrant rushed to the hospital after a Border Patrol vehicle accidentally ran over them in Kenedy County near Kingsville, Texas, last week, CBP said in a news release.

The incident occurred about 1 p.m. on April 29, when Border Patrol agents spotted fresh footprints in an area known for smuggling activity. 

As the agents searched for migrants, they ran over two men who were hiding in tall grass. The agents didn’t know they hit the men until a group of migrants emerged and informed them of what had happened. 

The migrants helped the agents locate the men, one of whom died at the scene. The other was transferred to a hospital via air ambulance and released later in the day.

“The initial investigation indicates BPAs were not aware anyone was burrowed in the grass nor were they aware anyone had been run over by a vehicle until informed by a migrant,” CBP said. 

The Kenedy County Sheriff’s Office and CBP Office of Professional Responsibility were called to the scene and are reviewing the incident.

CBP Officer Accused of Smuggling Live-in Caretaker into U.S. from Mexico

By Steve Neavling

A CBP officer is accused of smuggling her undocumented housekeeper into Texas from Mexico and has been charged with making false statements. 

Officer Rhonda Lee Walker, who is stationed at the Laredo Point of Entry, is scheduled to make a court appearance today. 

The investigation, which included nine months of surveillance, began in June 2020 with an anonymous tip to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), The Daily Beast first reported. The tipster said Walker was employing a live-in caretaker who was not authorized to live or work in the country. 

Surveillance video showed Walker escorting Mexican citizen Yadira Yesenia Trevino-SanMaguel across a pedestrian bridge between the U.S. and Mexico and then walking her through the inspection area, when she scanned in her caretaker’s nonimmigrant visa using a co-worker’s login, according to the OPR complaint. 

In an interrogation, Trevino-SanMaguel admitted she was working for Walker as a caretaker. 

Feds Find ‘Most Sophisticated Tunnel in U.S. History’ at Border with Mexico

Inside the unfinished tunnel, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The discovery shocked federal agents: An unfinished tunnel that ran from San Louis, Ariz., to a Mexican neighborhood featured a ventilation system, electrical wiring, water lines, a rail system and extensive reinforcement.

“This appears to be the most sophisticated tunnel in U.S. history, and certainly the most sophisticated I’ve seen in my career,” Carl E. Landrum, acting chief patrol agent with the Border Patrol’s Yuma sector, said, The Associated Press reports.

Discovered by Homeland Security Investigations in late July, officials believe it was intended for smuggling.

The tunnel was 3 feet wide and 4 feet high.

Excavation work on the tunnel, via ICE.

Border Patrol Agents Find 76 Immigrants Packed into Tractor-Trailer in Texas

Dozens of immigrants were found inside this tractor-trailer in Texas. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents made a disturbing discovery inside a tractor-trailer northwest of Laredo, Texas: 76 immigrants, including 13 unaccompanied children, were packed into the bed of truck.

The immigrants, hailing from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, were found in “good health” at a checkpoint on U.S. 83 on Friday, Border Patrol announced Monday

The discovery is just the latest in what agents said is an increase in the use of tractor-trailers to smuggle immigrants into the U.S.

“These criminal organizations view these individuals as mere commodities without regard for their safety,” Laredo Sector Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Gabriel Acosta said in a news release. “The blatant disregard for human life will not be tolerated. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to disrupt and dismantle these organizations and prosecute those responsible.”

Border Patrol Finds 60 Immigrants inside Refrigerated Trailer Loaded with Ice-Covered Broccoli

About 60 immigrants were found in this frigid trailer. Photo via CBP.

About 60 immigrants were found in this frigid trailer. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents found 60 immigrants in a refrigerated trailer loaded with ice-covered broccoli at a South Texas border checkpoint.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested the trucker at the Falfurrias checkpoint in Texas on smuggling charges. No one was injured, according to a CBP statement.

The temperature inside the trailer was just 49 degrees.

The immigrants, who came from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, were detained and face deportation.

Other Stories of Interest

Driver in Smuggling Operation Said Bodies Were ‘Lying on the Floor Like Meat’

James Matthew Bradley Jr.

James Matthew Bradley Jr.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

They were packed inside a sweltering, pitch-black tractor-trailer, taking turns breathing from a small hole in the semi. The immigrants had no water and banged on the walls of the trailer in vain.

Then they started dying.

James Matthew Bradley Jr., the 60-year-old driver of the tractor-trailer, told authorities Monday he had no idea there was anyone in the truck until he arrived at a Walmart in San Antonio on early Sunday morning. When he opened the door to the trailer, he said “he was run over by ’Spanish’ people and knocked to the ground,” the complaint reads, according to CNN

The Florida man said bodies were “lying on the floor like meat.”

Ten people died. More than a dozen more were in life-threatening condition.

If convicted, Bradley could be sentenced to death on one count of transporting illegal immigrants for financial gain, resulting in death.

Truck Driver Arrested After 9 Immigrants Found Dead in Sweltering Trailer

Tractor trailer found with 39 people packed inside at a Walmart parking lot in Texas.

Tractor trailer found with 39 people packed inside at a Walmart parking lot in Texas.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Florida truck driver was arrested Sunday after a Walmart security guard discovered nearly 40 people packed into a sweltering tractor trailer parked outside of a Walmart in San Antonio, Texas.

Nine of the people died and more than a dozen others suffered life-threatening injuries in what authorities are describing as a “horrific” case of human trafficking, the Washington Post reports

The driver, James Mathew Bradley Jr., 60, of Clearwater, Fla., is expected to be charged as early as Monday.

The people were discovered at 12:30 a.m. Sunday by a Walmart security guard who was tipped off that immigrants appeared to be inside a tractor trailer in the parking lot.

San Antonio police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Salame said the case is being handled by ICE because of suspected international smuggling.

“They have to be turned over to the custody of somebody,” he told the Post. “They don’t have anywhere else to go.”

FBI: Seattle Cop Smuggled Massive Amounts of Marijuana to Baltimore

Photo of marijuana by Steve Neavling.

Photo of marijuana by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI busted a Seattle police officer who authorities say helped smuggling hundreds of pounds of marijuana to Baltimore.

Alex Chapackdee, a 17-year veteran of the force, was arrested and was among four men charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana, the Associated Press reports. The 44-year-old office is the brother-in-;aw of the group’s alleged ringleader.

“While (it is) always disturbing to investigate one of our own, I am proud of the detectives and commanders who worked diligently on this case,” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said in a written statement. “Officer Chapackdee’s conduct is disgraceful and disappointing. While he will have his due process in the courts, I hope these charges demonstrate to our community that SPD will not tolerate corrupt behavior in our ranks.”

According to the FBI, Chapackdee drove marijuana from Seattle to Baltimore in his recreational vehicle several times last fall. The FBI said he deposited nearly $20,000 in cash into his bank account.

Chapackdee, who is on unpaid leave, also is accused of accepting $10,000 a month from his brother-in-law to alert him to any law enforcement investigations and to keep an eye on marijuana grow operations,

Chapackdee’s attorney, David Gehrke, declined to comment on the allegations but said the charges have been difficult for him and his family, which includes a wife and four children.

“This is a huge fall from grace, an embarrassment,” Gehrke said.

The investigation was prompted by a confidential source.