Data provided through an Open Records Request sheds new light on the number of migrants transported through Texas over the past year.
SAN ANTONIO — According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), nearly 500 migrants have been rescued from trailers, rail cars and vans traveling through Texas since 53 non-citizens were found dead in a tractor trailer on Quintana Road last year.
KENS 5 obtained a new report from the Department of Homeland Security through an open records request. It shows 16 more cases where migrants were rescued from trailers in our state.
According to the report, cases involving these migrant rescues include vehicles such as trailers, boxcars, rail cars and cloned cars, which is when a vehicle is made to look like another registered car or receives stolen license plates.
ICE reported that Laredo and El Paso were two of the most common places these arrests occurred, though they generally occurred in our state, as well as neighboring states like New Mexico.
Officials say 472 migrants have been found by officials in trailers, vans and trains since June 27, 2022. That number doesn’t include arrests at human trafficking hideouts, land crossings or arrests involving boats.
Nearly a month after the Quintana Road arrests, 91 migrants were found in an articulated truck in Laredo. About three months later, according to the report, another 87 migrants were found in an articulated truck in Corpus Christi.
Immigrant rights advocates and DHS have also argued that the dangers of crossing the country are a year-round issue. The busts ranged from summer and spring to early December and late January.
At the time of the Quintana Road incident, KENS 5 reported that 48 bodies were found inside the trailer and 16 people who were inside had been taken to San Antonio area hospitals. That death toll rose to 53 in the following days. Everyone succumbed to heat-related illnesses inside the scorching hot trailer.
The youngest victim inside the trailer was 13 and the oldest 55.
The Quintana Road incident served to remind San Antonio and Bexar County officials of the dangers of human trafficking. San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood and Bexar County Chief Medical Examiner Kimberley Molina both spoke to KENS 5 a year after the migrant smuggling deaths on Quintana Road.
So far, four men have been arrested and charged in connection with the Quintana Road arrest. The DOJ identified two of the men as Homero Zamorano Jr., 45, and Christian Martinez, 28. Both face life in prison or the death penalty.
Shortly after the semi-truck was rescued on Quintana Road, officials arrested Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mende and Juan Francisco D’Lune-Bilbao, who were found at a home on Arnold Drive on San Antonio’s North Side where the tractor trailer was registered. They were charged with possession of a firearm while illegally in the country and faced up to 10 years in prison.
> Read ICE’s full report below:
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