Eight dead, 30 found injured in human trafficking truck at San Antonio Walmart parking lot

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus and Fire Chief Charles Hood speak to reporters at crime scene. (SAPD photo)

Homeland Security called in to investigate human trafficking case

At least two victims under age 16

Latest reports indicate that two children were not among the eight dead found in the back of a semitrailer used for “human trafficking” at the Walmart parking lot on IH-35 and Highway 16 on the southwest side of San Antonio, Texas during the night.

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San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said when rescuers pulled the victims out of the truck they “were hot to the touch” and that 30 others were injured.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs officials were called in to help with the investigation as 17 people were rushed in serious condition to area hospitals. Another 13 were taken to hospitals and care units with less severe conditions. At least two of the victims were under 16 years of age. Most of them where in their 20s and 30s.

The truck driver was arrested and is certain to face federal and state charges.

“This happens quite frequently … fortunately there are people who survived, but this happens all the time.”

This morning San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said a Walmart employee called 911 shortly after midnight when an individual from the truck was seeking water. Firefighters arrived at 12:26 a.m. Surveillance video revealed several vehicles had arrived and “picked up lots of folks that were in that trailer that survived the trip…We’re looking at a human trafficking crime here,” McManus stated.

According to McManus some of the survivors ran away and are being searched for in the nearby surroundings and admitted this “is not an isolated incident. This happens quite frequently … fortunately there are people who survived, but this happens all the time.”

Human smuggling and the Trump Wall

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office indicates that human trafficking affects more than 300,000 victims in the state. Abbott signed a law in May requiring training for truck drivers and other commercial vehicle operators on recognizing signs of human trafficking.

Penna Group, a Fort Worth, Texas company, proposes a double wire mesh fence that has a sheet of plexiglass lined with a one-way mirror allowing border patrol agents to see the Mexico side, but not the reverse. The fence would be 30 feet tall with a 6-foot footing, and both would be designed to sustain tampering by pickaxes, hammers, hand-tools, and torches for over an hour and a half. The double-lined, double-wire mesh design is often used in maximum-security prisons.Credit: Michael Evangelista-Ysasaga, Penna Group

Human smuggling is a major reason President Donald J. Trump wants to build a wall along the Mexico border. Over 1,400 people were arrested in a seven week period April and May 2017 during the largest “sweep” against gang members, human smugglers and drug dealers in history. Two-thirds were U.S. citizens, one-third were foreign nationals from 21 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. Law enforcement continue to target gang members involved in drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.

These arrests are part of a national effort to support President Trump’s Executive Order of February 9, 2017. Trump instructed the Attorney General’s Office to focus on “destroying transnational criminal organizations and drug cartels. These dangerous groups bring drugs and violence to once- peaceful neighborhoods in the United States and around the world. They have fueled addiction and fatal overdoses. They will no longer operate with impunity in this country or this hemisphere.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been supporting federal, state and local officials to do just that.

“One of the fundamental rights of every American is to live in a safe community.”

Since 2006, the U.S. Border Patrol has reported 3,951,788 illegal alien apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border, including 1,160,545 apprehensions in the Texas sectors. Mexican cartels are becoming increasingly confrontational in encounters with law enforcement officers. Since 2009, there have been 94 incidents in which shots were fired at 124 law enforcement officers in Texas.

“One of the fundamental rights of every American is to live in a safe community,” the White House states on their official website. “A Trump Administration will empower our law enforcement officers to do their jobs and keep our streets free of crime and violence. The Trump Administration will be a law and order administration. President Trump will honor our men and women in uniform and will support their mission of protecting the public. The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) status indicators, over 225,000 criminal aliens have been booked into local Texas jails between June 1, 2011 and June 30, 2017. During their criminal careers, these criminal aliens were charged with more than 600,000 criminal offenses.

Those arrests include 1,227 homicide charges; 71,374 assault charges; 17,291 burglary charges; 71,790 drug charges; 729 kidnapping charges; 41,814 theft charges; 46,526 obstructing police charges; 3,962 robbery charges; 6,450 sexual assault charges; and 9,016 weapons charges. Of the total criminal aliens arrested in that timeframe, over 150,000 or 66% were identified by DHS status as being in the US illegally at the time of their last arrest. This only includes Texas as those arrested in these figures may have offenses in other states.

 

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