Border Patrol finds 42 people in ‘cold’ trailer at Falfurrias checkpoint

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent and K-9 security dog keep watch at a checkpoint station, Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, in Falfurrias. (Eric Gay/AP Photo)
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United States Border Patrol agents at the Falfurrias checkpoint discovered 42 people illegally present in the country inside a trailer that was so cold it caused one person to cry, according to a criminal complaint.

Two men, Joe Adam Escobedo and Jose Cruz Faz, were arrested and charged with bringing in and harboring people illegally present in the United States and attempting to transport them within the country.

At about 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, a white 2019 Kenworth tractor hauling a white Great Dane trailer driven by Escobedo approached the Falfurrias checkpoint for an immigration inspection, according to the complaint.

Escobedo told agents that it was just him and Faz occupying and that they were hauling “different produce” that was picked up in McAllen.

The agent interviewing Escobedo noticed that he was answering without hesitation, sparking suspicion. He noticed Escobedo’s demeanor was off putting as he showed “signs of nervousness by gripping the steering wheel firmly, to the point where his knuckles were turning white,” the complaint said.

Due to Escobedo’s nervousness and Faz’s “fidgeting,” the agent referred the two to the secondary inspection area where they drove the tractor trailer through an x-ray.

The operator of the x-ray noticed several anomalies inside the trailer and requested additional agents.

The agents found that the left door to the trailer was sealed but the right one was unlocked and entered through it.

Inside, they discovered 42 individuals attempting to conceal themselves. In addition, the agents found that the temperature inside the trailer was 57 degrees.

“The reefer unit of the trailer was set to 46 degrees Fahrenheit,” the complaint said.

All 42 individuals freely admitted to being illegally present in the country. The people were then identified to be a mix of Mexican, Honduran, El Salvadorian, Guatemalan and Ecuadorian citizens.

A records check of Escobedo revealed that he had been arrested in April for attempting to smuggle seven people.

Escobedo told authorities he wouldn’t have attempted to smuggle the individuals had he known how many were inside the trailer, adding that he was to be paid $20,000 and needed the money for his family.

In an interview, Faz initially stated he had no clue they were hauling people but later said he did, stating that he didn’t know how many.

One woman told authorities that she “began to cry” due to how cold the trailer was and added that she couldn’t get out of the trailer is he wanted to.