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Border Patrol agents and local law enforcement officers have arrested nearly 300 illegal aliens in a series of unrelated enforcement actions around Laredo in an 18-hour timespan last week, according to a report from authorities.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

The first incident occurred during the late afternoon of October 13, when agents from the Laredo South Station, working with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Webb County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), conducted a consensual search at a residence in which they discovered 123 individuals stashed inside.  They were determined to be in the United States illegally from the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.  The U.S. Border Patrol took them into custody pending investigation.   

 

The second incident occurred a couple of hours later, when agents along with HSI and WCSO acted on information received regarding another possible stash house.  Agents and deputies conducted a consensual search at the apartment in question and apprehended 13 individuals who were in the United States illegally from the country of Mexico.  Numerous U.S. citizens who were also present in the apartment were taken into custody for their involvement in the human smuggling attempt. 

 

Later that evening, U.S. Border Patrol agents stopped a large human smuggling attempt at one of the Border Patrol checkpoints after a Service canine alerted to a tractor trailer.  A search of the vehicle led agents to discover 84 individuals inside the trailer.  All of the individuals were illegally present in the United States and from the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.  All individuals were taken into custody for further investigation.

 

The final incident occurred early the next morning, when agents at another Border Patrol checkpoint encountered a second tractor trailer.  After a service canine alerted an agent, a non-intrusive scan was conducted on the vehicle that led agents to discover 74 individuals inside the refrigerated trailer.  The individuals, illegally in the United States, were from the countries of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Peru.  They were taken into Border Patrol custody for further investigation.

A total of 294 individuals were discovered being smuggled into the United States in the four separate incidents. Ninety of them were from countries other than Mexico.

Speaking to the Laredo Morning Times, Laredo Sector Chief Patrol Agent Matthew J. Hudak said the operations were conducted in a challenging environment for the agency.

“It’s a challenging operational environment for us because we still certainly have our frontline responsibilities along the border and river itself. We still have agents. We still have (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) officers that are part of the surge operation that are helping us. We’re maintaining that, but we are also continuing to address the smuggling activities,” Hudak said.

Hudak added that immigrants are paying smugglers a fee of about $5,000 per person to be placed in dangerous conditions.

“They’re paying them to get across, not realizing that they are actually dealing with a criminal organization whose sole purpose is to make money. To them, that [immigrant] is just cash. They don’t see the human value,” Hudak said.

Reacting to a Fox News piece covering the incident, Republican Party of Texas Chairman Allen West said the incident was proof that voters should reject Democrats in the upcoming election.