Federal officials say that two men are now facing federal human smuggling charges after DHS agents discovered nearly three-dozen people in the back of a refrigerated tractor-trailer truck on Monday night.
According to a report from FOX, the truck was going through a checkpoint in southern Arizona when a dog alerted the CBP officials to the back of the truck. When they opened the trailer doors, they didn’t just find the produce stashed back there, but instead found 32 passengers from Ecuador and Mexico sitting inside.
The driver and passenger of the vehicle, identified only as U.S. citizens in their 30’s, were immediately arrested. Authorities took the 32 undocumented individuals to the Nogales port of entry to be processed for immigration violations.
DHS officials slammed the truck drivers for their reckless behavior, first being that it was only 47 degrees inside the refrigerated trailer, and additionally because if an accident had occurred, there was nothing to prevent the passengers from being severely injured.
“If there is an accident, these people are going to be violently thrown in the back of this trailer because there are no restraints or consideration for the people being smuggled,” said CBP official Joe Curran. “People aren’t cargo, they’re not meant to be in the back of tractor-trailers and they’re not meant to be transported in this fashion.”
Despite the frigid temperatures in the back of the truck, officials at the scene said that most of the people in the back were only wearing t-shirts. They ranged in age from 16 to 53, according to FOX.
Curran says X-ray technology helped them to locate illegal cargo or attempts of smuggling during checkpoints.
“We refer vehicles to secondary where we get a better look and understanding of what is going on where we utilize this X-ray technology, which is a huge benefit,” Curran said.
The White House also condemned the actions of the smugglers.
“Smuggling humans in commercial vehicles is not only unlawful: It places the passengers in extreme danger,” they tweeted.
DHS officials in the Tucson area said that they’ve discovered a number of attempts to use semi-trucks to bring people into the country illegally over the last few months.
Federal officials say that they’re noticing a large amount of young men coming across the southern border and traveling up to the Seattle area. Local transnational gangs like MS-13 have been boosting recruiting efforts by targeting young individuals that are in the country illegally.
Now, the city is locked in a battle between protecting their community members from violence and maintaining their sanctuary status.
For the second time in two weeks, police have discovered the bodies of residents viciously murdered by non-citizens involved with notorious gangs like MS-13.
But even though they’re being plagued with a string of brutal attacks, officials still are on the fence about cooperating with ICE.
The latest murder accuses MS-13 member Carlos Orlando Iraheta-Vega of viciously attacking and murdering his 16-year-old friend with a baseball bat. Then prosecutors say Iraheta-Vega and another man then used a machete on the boy, hacking at his neck and even going so far as to chop off his arm and his leg.
Iraheta-Vega goes by the nickname “Joker” and has a long list of run-ins with King County law enforcement. He admitted to 16-year-old Juan Carlos along with a cohort named “Inferno”. The two said that it began as a fight that they arranged, but then in the heat of the moment, the men decided to kill him.
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The victim’s arm and leg were found completely detached and lying away from his body.
“The defendants beat the victim with a baseball bat and mercilessly chopped his neck repeatedly with a machete before dismembering the body,” prosecutor Mary H. Barbosa said in court. “The extraordinary brutality of this crime demonstrates the threat the defendants pose to the community.”
Members of ICE say that if the city leaders hadn’t directed local authorities not to work with them, Iraheta-Vega could have been safely removed from the community back in last November after he was arrested for a different crime.
But instead, he’s continued to escape justice, being freed back into the community instead of turned over to federal officials in the name of providing ‘sanctuary’ to undocumented immigrants.
ICE is blaming the sanctuary policy in Seattle for facilitating the murder…. https://t.co/642hrQsl3D
— David J Harris Jr (@DavidJHarrisJr) October 12, 2019
The vicious murder comes just a week after Carlos Daniel Carillo-Lopez was arrested in connection with murdering his girlfriend with a group of other gang members after she allegedly posed in a picture showing a rival gang’s hand signals.
ICE officials say that their situation with Carillo-Lopez is the same as Iraheta-Vega, because if King County authorities had worked with them to keep the community safe, both men wouldn’t have been around to commit such heinous acts.
The Washington Times reported that both Carillo-Lopez and Iraheta-Vega came into the country under the guise of being unaccompanied minors, a policy that was created to help those in need get shelter. But officials say the statute has been widely abused, with those wishing to cross using children to get there or pretending to be minors themselves.
Officials say that once the men were inside the U.S., they were quickly recruited by the transnational gangs.
While these gang members are often picked up for crimes by local authorities, they are usually released right back into the community, managing to boost their criminal records while continuing to evade federal punishment.
ICE spokesperson Tanya Roman made a statement regarding the severity of the situation.
“This scenario, where sanctuary policies shield criminal aliens who prey on people in the community from immigration enforcement, is becoming all too common,” said Roman. “As Iraheta-Vega’s crimes increased in severity, local officials chose to release him, time and time again, without notification to ICE, a simple process that could have potentially prevented this crime.”
People in the area want to know when enough is enough.
“How many more people have to die before sanctuary leaders admit that it is a huge public safety mistake to defy ICE detainers, and reverse their policies?” Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies said.