Border Patrol finds 73 people in the country illegally in 2 incidents

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Border Patrol agents found 27 people in the country illegally inside a horse trailer near Linn on Friday, May 24, 2024. (The Monitor)

Border Patrol agents arrested two men in separate human smuggling incidents over the weekend in the Rio Grande Valley with authorities finding 73 people in the country illegally.

David Vargas-Muniz and Jose Guadalupe Salinas were both arrested on charges of bringing in and harboring people illegally present in the United States in two separate events last week.

At about 10:35 p.m. on Saturday, during the first incident, Vargas-Muniz was driving a white Frieghtliner tractor-trailer when he entered the United States Border Patrol checkpoint for an immigration inspection, according to the criminal complaint.

As Vargas-Muniz was released from the primary inspection lane and began driving off, a service K-9 started chasing the trailer, so agents flashed their lights at the trailer in an attempt to have Vargas-Muniz pull over, but he continued to drive off, the complaint said.

He was later pulled over by another Border Patrol agent and was returned to the checkpoint.

When agents used an x-ray, it revealed that there were possibly people inside the tractor and the trailer.

Inside the trailer, agents found 40 people hiding “amongst the commodity,” including a juvenile boy.

Six more people were also found concealed inside the tractor.

All 46 people were determined to be illegally present in the U.S.

Before being taken into custody, agents asked the people found inside the trailer if they needed medical attention due to the high heat inside the trailer, which was marked at 92 degrees.

“Although they were hot, none of the [people] required medical attention,” the complaint said.

One person in the trailer told authorities that she began to cry because she was struggling to breathe and would stand near the wall of the trailer because it was slightly cooler there, according to the complaint.

Border Patrol agents found 27 people in the country illegally inside a horse trailer near Linn on Friday, May 24, 2024. (The Monitor)

She added that they didn’t have any means of escape in case of emergency.

In the second incident, at approximately 12:15 a.m. on Friday, Border Patrol agents in Linn received a request from the Texas Department of Public Safety after a trooper stopped a truck towing a horse trailer for an expired registration, according to the complaint.

Salinas gave the trooper consent to search the trailer where there was a separate compartment inside.

“Salinas opened the compartment and the DPS trooper immediately observed several arms,” the complaint said. “In total, [27] subjects were concealed within the compartment.”

Once they were determined to be illegally present in the country, four of the people appeared to be suffering from heat-related illness and dehydration. They were all given water.

One of the people found inside the compartment told authorities that it was very hot inside the trailer and it was difficult to breathe.

Vargas-Muniz and Salinas will remain in custody pending their appearance before a judge later this week.