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Texas Border Patrol Agents Discover Smuggled Migrants in Toolboxes at Checkpoint


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Texas Border Patrol agents discovered three migrants locked in a toolbox on Thursday while inspecting a vehicle at a border checkpoint.

El Paso Border Patrol Chief Gloria Chavez said a “ruthless smuggler” locked the migrants in the metal toolboxes and transported them in “extreme summer heat”.

Officers discovered the migrants during a secondary inspection of a black Chevrolet Silverado with a New Mexico license plate after a K-9 officer alerted them to the back of the truck.

The truck driver, a US citizen, told officers he had marijuana and a handgun with him, CBP said. Officers questioned him about what was inside the toolbox and he told them he had no keys to open it. Officers arrested the driver and opened the toolbox padlocks, revealing the migrants crammed inside with restricted oxygen.

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CBP identified the migrants as Honduran nationals, all male. They were medically evaluated and found to be in good health.

The driver was arrested and charged with conspiracy to transport. It is not known what happened to the migrants after their discovery.

“Endangering human lives using dangerous and despicable smuggling tactics is the modus operandi of transnational criminal organizations,” Chavez said in a statement. “Often illegal migrants are locked in confined spaces with restricted oxygen.”

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The incident came just days after 53 migrants were found dead in an abandoned tractor-trailer on the outskirts of San Antonio.

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