When we see incidents like this, we investigate all aspects. We investigate the coordinators … the transporters, the guides, the drivers, the financial side — the people collecting payments and distributing the payments. Everybody.Craig Larrabee, acting special agent for Homeland Security Investigations in San Antonio, regarding the deadly tractor-trailer incident this week. Four men have now been charged with human smuggling.
- Why It Matters: "It was the single deadliest migrant smuggling case in U.S. history, according to a Homeland Security official" (The Texas Tribune). The case is ongoing.
- Background: Earlier this week, a tractor-trailer in San Antonio was found with 67 Central American migrants — both adults and children — who were smuggled across the U.S. southern border. As of now, 53 deaths have been reported. The details of what law enforcement discovered upon discovering the vehicle are important, but we'd like to share a gentle warning that they are difficult to read.
- Developments: Four suspects have been arrested for their involvement in illegally transporting migrants. Two of the men are U.S. citizens and could face life in prison or the death penalty (one of which was the driver); the other two men have ties to the truck and face charges for being undocumented immigrants with illegal possession of guns.
- Big Picture: U.S. southern border encounters have continued to hit record-highs in recent months. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Wednesday that the Department of Public Safety “will create and implement a checkpoint strategy beginning immediately where they will begin targeting trucks like the one that was used where these people perished” (The Texas Tribune).
- Words from one of the mothers affected: “We all planned it as a family so they could have a different life, so they could achieve goals, dreams,” said Karen Caballero, the mother of two sons who died in the tractor-trailer; her son's long-time childhood sweetheart also perished. “I thought things were going to go well … Who was a little afraid was Alejandro Miguel. He said, ‘Mom, if something happens to us.’ And I told him, ‘Nothing is going to happen, nothing is going to happen. You are not the first nor will you be the last human being to travel to the United States." Read more of what we're learning from impacted families in Honduras and Guatemala.
Fourth suspect arrested in deadly tractor-trailer case (San Antonio Express-News)
by Jenna Lee,