San Antonio/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on June 12, 2024
Bexar County Sting Operation Rescues 26 Migrants and Leads to Seven Arrests in Human Smuggling CrackdownSource: Google Street View

Authorities in Bexar County have revealed the dismantling of a human smuggling operation with the rescue of 26 undocumented migrants, some of whom were hospitalized due to the conditions they faced. This bust occurred on the South Side of the county, an area which has now become synonymous with a continuing battle against such illicit activities.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), acted on intelligence that led them to a stash house on Oak Island Drive where the migrants were discovered in deplorable conditions. Eleven individuals required immediate medical attention, suffering from heat-related issues and minor injuries after being transported in a hidden compartment of a truck for hours, as reported by MySA. Seven suspects have been arrested in connection with the operation, and those figures could potentially rise as investigations continue.

Details about the smuggling ring's operations were provided by Craig Larrabe, the Special Agent in Charge of HSI for the San Antonio operating area. In an interview obtained by FOX San Antonio, Larrabe explained, "We spend a lot of time on human smuggling," adding, "We conduct criminal investigations for anything that's crossing the border, whether it's people or goods that are illegally crossing the border." He remarked that migrants typically first make their way on foot across the border through areas such as Laredo, Eagle Pass, and Terrell County before being picked up by smugglers.

Describing the importance of evidence gathering in such cases, Larrabe said, "It is the most important thing for us to collect as much evidence at the time of that crime." Noting the priority of law enforcement and emergency services, which first and foremost is the protection and preservation of life, but also highlighting their secondary mission, which is the collection of evidence to ensure the prosecution of individuals linked to the smuggling organization.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, shedding light on the emergency response, stated that in addition to those hospitalized, other migrants were treated for various medical incidents. Victims are often transported in precarious ways, having to brave extreme heat and other hazardous conditions. Sheriff Thaddeus Cleveland, speaking to the patterns of those caught in the smuggling pipeline, noted, "Right now, what we see is mainly Mexican adult men that crossed our portion of the border, we will have a few females and if we have juveniles are typically accompanied by a father and uncle, a cousin, or something like that," according to FOX San Antonio.