Texas Sheriff's Department takes down 'cartel-related,' 'big money' human smuggling ring

BEXAR COUNTY, TX— The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office joined by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations, and other agencies executed a massive takedown of a human smuggling ring after discovering 26 illegal immigrant victims kept inside a cramped compartment in a goose-neck trailer. Seven suspects were arrested on charges related to human smuggling and organized crime.

As reported by Fox News, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar told reporters that the trailer which came from the Laredo area and was traveling to a rural property outside San Antonio contained a false compartment with 26 illegal immigrants found lying inside. The outlet identified the suspects arrested as Abeldaro Herrera, 39; Rafael Mendoza, 26; Cristobal Eduardo Deleon, 28; Jose Marvin Hernandez, 21; Mario Enrique Elizondo, 23; Vanessa Castillo, 30; and Ismael Hernandez, 45.
Officials told reporters that the 26 illegal immigrants, 20 men, and six women, came from Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, and Guatemala. Twelve of them were taken to an area hospital and treated for minor injuries, heat-related dehydration, and cardiac-related issues. 

Salazar revealed that his office was responding to a tip and that the multi-agency team followed the trailer to what he described as an open-air shack with windows open, no air conditioning, no running water, and mere buckets used as crude latrines.

A cache of rifles and body armor were also found on the property. He explained that the operation was "clearly cartel-related," and described the smuggling operation as being "big money." He told the press that one Guatemalan woman claimed she paid $16,000 to be smuggled into the country.
The case is now under the leadership of Homeland Security Investigations with HSI San Antonio posting to X, "A total of 26 noncitizens were encountered and 7 suspects were arrested. No additional details at this time."
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