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12 people found trapped in compartment under flatbed trailer, Border Patrol agents say

Agents said several people were found trapped inside a compartment where screws had been used to fasten the boards from the outside.
Credit: US Customs and Border Patrol

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Border Patrol agents said twelve people were found trapped in a screwed-in compartment underneath a trailer in Sarita Tuesday. Wednesday, agents at the same location, the Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint, discovered 5 more people in a box truck. All were determined to be in the U.S. illegally, officials said. 

Tuesday, a Ford truck hauling a flatbed trailer stopped at the Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint in Sarita for inspection. Agents said after inspection, several people were found trapped inside a compartment where screws had been used to fasten the boards from the outside. 

Credit: US Customs and Border Patrol

Agents found a drill in the driver's possession and unscrewed the boards to let the people out. 

An immigration inspection of the 12 subjects determined they were all illegally present in the United States and from the countries of El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. 

All subjects were medically evaluated and found to be in good health. Border Patrol agents processed the cases and subjects accordingly. 

Then, Thursday afternoon, a box truck came through the same checkpoint in Sarita. Dogs alerted agents that something was in the cargo area of the truck, officials said. 

In the cargo area, that was secured with a padlock, agents saw several pallets of cardboard boxes stacked throughout the truck.

Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

Five people were found hidden among the pallets. The five people were determined to be citizens of Brazil and the Dominican Republic, all illegally present in the United States. 

The Rio Grande Valley Sector currently has multiple campaigns focused on rescues and danger awareness, such as “Operation Big Rig” and “No Se Arriesgue” to combat smuggling and ultimately save lives. Call 911 to report suspicious activity. 

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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