McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — In less than a day, 58 undocumented migrants were apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol and local law enforcement officers at two “stash houses” in South Texas, officials said Tuesday. Two others were found smuggled in triple-digit temperatures in the compartment of a truck.
The arrests began Saturday evening in rural Starr County where, 25 migrants were picked up from a stash house. The migrants were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. A few tried to run from agents but were captured, Border Patrol officials said in a statement.
On Sunday morning, a joint force of law enforcement officials arrested a total of 33 migrants in the town of Roma, also in Starr County. The arrests began with 13 undocumented migrants whom Roma police discovered during a traffic stop. Several migrants ran from the vehicle and Border Patrol agents were called to help. Agents and officers went to a residence on the street that was suspected of housing migrants and found an additional 20 undocumented migrants, including four unaccompanied children, Border Patrol Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Dustin Araujo told Border Report.
The migrants were crammed into one room, none were wearing masks and a mattress was on the floor, conditions Araujo said were ripe to spread COVID-19 if any of the migrants had the virus.
“When you have so many people inside a small residence like that with no social distancing, and from the pictures you can tell they aren’t wearing masks nor have an abundance of food or water, it shows how unsafe these conditions are that smugglers put them in,” Araujo said.
Later that day, a Border Patrol canine alerted agents to two undocumented migrants hidden in a compartment within the bed of a pickup at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Kingsville, Texas, about 130 miles northeast of Roma. The temperature in the compartment was 123 degrees, agents said.
There have been a spate of recent arrests this month by Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations agents and local law enforcement in South Texas, resulting in the disruption of over 100 stash houses in the Rio Grande Valley. Agents have told Border Report that most migrants found are living in dilapidated houses or apartments with little food or water, tightly packed together and most often do not have facial coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Araujo said agents are quickly apprehending migrants and transporting them to prevent possible contamination of the novel deadly virus.