EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – El Paso continues to be a staging ground for migrant smuggling into the interior of the United States, law-enforcement officials say.
Late last week, U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents located 24 unauthorized migrants at two motels in Central El Paso near the El Paso International Airport.
The migrants were citizens of Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico, the Border Patrol said. They were taken into custody along with a teen who is a U.S. citizen and was allegedly linked to the “stash house” event.
A stash house can be a residence, an apartment, a hotel or a warehouse where smugglers place migrants until they can transport them to other cities where jobs or relatives await them. San Antonio, Dallas, Denver and Los Angeles are some typical next stops for unauthorized migrants who reach El Paso, officials have told Border Report.
Since Oct. 1, federal agencies have investigated 17 stash house events and arersted more than 80 migrants in the El Paso Sector. In September alone, seven additional busts resulted in the arrest of more than 100 undocumented immigrants
“Our El Paso region is a rich environment that is being exploited daily by transnational criminal organizations that knowingly place human beings at high risk or in harm’s way, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic,” stated El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “Our strong partnerships with other law enforcement agencies allow us to maximize our enforcement capabilities.”
In recent months, the agency has located stash houses in various parts of the city. It’s been common for smugglers to force large numbers of migrants are forced to share small spaces with no face masks or social distancing, agency officials have said.