Mexican immigrants nabbed near San Antonio truckstop, again

| Wednesday, August 14, 2002

For the second time in 12 days, federal immigration agents Monday seized a tractor-trailer smuggling undocumented immigrants to an east San Antonio truckstop. The latest roundup is the fourth statewide over the past three weeks.

Immigration and Naturalization Service agents detained 19 residents from Mexico found at a motel near the Petro truckstop at I-10 and Ackerman Road, the Dallas Morning News reported. INS agents had responded to reports of men and women seen running from an 18-wheeler parked at the truckstop to the nearby motel.

The immigrants, 15 men and four men, were caught in a motel room. They reportedly were smuggled from Mexico and loaded onto the truck near Laredo. The driver, whose name was not released pending federal charges, was arrested.

On July 31, INS agents found 100 undocumented immigrants at the Petro inside a locked trailer with a broken refrigeration unit. Agents caught 32 of the immigrants, two of whom were hospitalized for heat exhaustion. The rest escaped. The driver, Antonio Deloza of Laredo, was charged with federal immigration smuggling violations.

On Aug. 5, 73 men, women and children were discovered in a reefer packed with rotting watermelons as it attempted to pass through the Sarita, TX, checkpoint, about 100 miles north of Brownsville. The truck's driver, whose name was not released, also was charged with federal immigration smuggling violations.

On July 27, two El Paso truckers, Troy Dock and Jason Sprague, were arrested after 40 immigrants were found in the back of their sweltering truck at a Dallas truckstop. Two of the immigrants died of heatstroke. The two men face state murder charges and federal smuggling charges.

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