An Operation Lone Star task force, composed of multiple law enforcement agencies on the border that actively pursue human smuggling and trafficking operations, made multiple human smuggling busts this week and saved several lives, including that of a 5-year-old girl.
In response to an SOS sent out by Sheriff Brad Coe of Kinney County, Goliad County Sheriff Roy Boyd assisted in organizing a multi-agency task force to help combat the constant stream of human trafficking. On February 13, officers from more than 20 agencies worked together to identify and intercept human smuggling routes.
Following the identification of the routes, officers have been able to pull over smugglers for probable cause if they are taking a known smuggling route.
Last week, Kinney County Chief Deputy Armando Garcia pulled a vehicle over for probable cause, which led to the arrest of both the driver and a passenger, and the rescuing of six people. According to authorities, both the driver and passenger had criminal records and had been arrested by DPS months prior to this event but were released, before returning and attempting to smuggle once again.
Following the arrests, officers discovered five people stacked on top of each other in the back seat of the vehicle. A 4-year-old child was at the bottom of the pile. After discovering the five people in the back seat, officers moved to the trunk.
When the officers opened the trunk, they discovered a 5-year-old girl hidden inside.
The young girl was unresponsive when she was discovered, but Garcia and the two deputies with him revived her, saving her life. It is unknown whether the little girl was under the influence of an unknown substance, suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, or was incapacitated by something else.
According to The Center Square, officers said the smugglers were attempting to reach Houston and likely would have left the young girl in the trunk the entire time, where she likely would have died.
The driver and passenger confessed to smuggling after they were arrested, and officers discovered pictures on their phones of multiple stashes of cash they made when previously smuggling people from Mexico to major Texas cities.
Authorities said that the driver and passenger will be federally prosecuted, and the illegal aliens being smuggled were turned over to Border Patrol.