In recent weeks, a spate of accidents involving human smugglers has plagued the city streets of Laredo, Texas, endangering the public, and in one case, costing the lives of migrants.
On Wednesday, Border Patrol agents were summoned to assist Texas Highway Patrol troopers with a vehicle pursuit south of downtown. Ultimately, the pursued vehicle collided with another, resulting in extensive damages.
Border Patrol reports that multiple injuries were suffered and several passengers were taken to hospitals. Five migrants who had recently entered the United States illegally were arrested at the scene. The accident and the smuggling case remain under investigation.
In late June, a similar accident occurred near the downtown area. According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on June 23, a Border Patrol agent observed migrants boarding a white pickup truck a short distance from the Rio Grande.
The truck then left the area at a high rate of speed with the migrants riding in the open bed. As Border Patrol searched for the truck near downtown, they happened upon an accident scene involving the suspect vehicle near Main Avenue and Jefferson Street. Responding agents determined suspected migrants were thrown from the vehicle after a collision with an SUV.
Two migrants died on the scene and a third was transported to a San Antonio hospital where he died two days later. Eight other occupants, also believed to be migrants, were severely injured and taken to area hospitals. Thus far, the identities and nationalities of those involved have not been released.
According to CBP, this latter incident is being investigated by the Laredo Police Department. The Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office and CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility is reviewing the incident as well.
The surge in migrant traffic along the entire southwest border is sparking concern from border residents, law enforcement officers, and elected officials.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.