Truck Discovery Brings Illegal Immigration into Our Neighborhoods

posted by 1200 WOAI -

This week's discovery on an 18-wheeler full of illegal immigrants is proof that the cartels are becoming more brazen in their tactics, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The bust on the 8400 block of Laurelhurst Drive, which is near Loop 410 and Broadway, is not on the outskirts of the city, like the one found at a Southwest side Walmart in late 2017.  IT's near the middle of the city, in a residential neighborhood.  

Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden said at a news conference Wednesday that, to stop the cartels, they cannot focus on the smuggler.

They need to breakdown the infrastructure that's becoming more sophisticated.

"If we want to make serious progress against organized alien smuggling in south Texas, we need to attack the criminal organizations and financial infrastructure that supports it," he said.

That includes, he says, the stash house operators, smugglers, extorters and those making the money exchanges.

Jerry Robinette, a former Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in San Antonio, says San Antonio has always been a drop off and transfer spot.  When he was in charge, they found those stash houses all across the city.

"They are going to try to dissolve themselves into the neighborhood," he explains.  "(Migrants) are not going to be taken to a house in La Cantera.  They’re going to find a neighborhood where they can come and go.  It may be a neighborhood where there are a lot of rental homes."

Now with Frontier Solutions, a crisis and risk management firm, he says there is a high value of tips from people in those neighborhoods.  If you see something, he says, say something.

"They saw something that didn’t seem right.  The 6th sense.  Their hair was standing up well before we hit it."

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