Troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety captured over 80 illegal immigrants during an apparent smuggling attempt across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Chris Olivarez with the Texas DPS shared a video of the human smuggling attempt on Twitter.
HAPPENING NOW: @TxDPS disrupted a human smuggling attempt on IH 35 in Cotulla. The driver attempted to smuggle 60+ illegal immigrants concealed inside a dump truck. Driver arrested & illegal immigrants turned over to #USBP - more details to come. #OperationLoneStar pic.twitter.com/7AbYwP2AFg— Chris Olivarez (@LtChrisOlivarez) October 25, 2022
Olivarez shared an update on the situation the following day. A total of 84 illegal immigrants from Guatemala and Mexico were inside the dump truck. The driver, Robert Flores Jr. was charged with 84 counts of human smuggling. He apparently bypassed Border Patrol by driving on a private ranch road that crosses the border.
UPDATE: 84 illegal immigrants from Guatemala & Mexico were recovered from the truck. @TxDPS arrested the driver, Robert Flores Jr., of Poteet, TX. He’s charged with 84 counts of human smuggling. Flores traveled through a ranch road bypassing a Border Patrol checkpoint in Webb Co. pic.twitter.com/jIOica0wvA— Chris Olivarez (@LtChrisOlivarez) October 26, 2022
Flores was arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate Highway 35 in Cotulla, Texas. The 84 illegal immigrants were turned over to Border Patrol. According to a statement from Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R-TX) office, numerous immigrants fled from the truck and ran to the brush.
In another incident this month, 15 illegal immigrants were caught crossing the border in a stolen bucket truck. A video obtained by Fox News showed the bucket truck being chased by officers in Encinal, Texas until it drove off the road. Authorities apprehended 11 of the 15 migrants. The driver was one the migrants who got away from law enforcement.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced that Title 42 would be expanded to turn away Venezuelan nationals trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. In a statement, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus said that the policy has been working.
“Over the past week, the number of Venezuelans attempting to enter the country fell more than 80 percent compared to the week prior to the launch of the joint enforcement actions. While this early data is not reflected in the latest report, it confirms what we’ve said all along: when there is a lawful and orderly way to enter the country, individuals will be less likely to put their lives in the hands of smugglers and try to cross the border unlawfully,” he said, adding that smugglers should not attempt to come into the United States.
“CBP and DHS will continue to work with our partners in the region to address the root causes of migration, expand legal pathways, facilitate removals, and take thousands of smugglers off the streets. No matter what smugglers say, those who do not have a legal basis to remain in the country will be removed and people should not make the dangerous journey,” he said.
According to numbers released by CBP this month, 77,302 encounters in September were from Venezuela, Cuba, or Nicaragua.