Police in Laredo, Texas, found 36 migrants trapped in a dump truck after the truck had a flat tire and was towed to an impound yard., officials say.
The migrants were trapped in a hidden compartment in the truck that seemed to haul gravel, CNN reported.
When investigators and rescuers responded to the impound lot on Jan. 30, they heard banging, CNN said. Laredo police received a tip that made them go back to the truck, the New York Daily News reported.
“People were hidden inside a dump trailer loaded with dirt with no means of escape,” U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in southern Texas tweeted.
The people in the truck were not injured and most likely crossed the border illegally, according to the Daily News. The hidden compartment of the truck was obscured by sand, dirt and gravel, NBC News reported.
The driver of the truck, 62-year-old Ruben Plata, had told officials that the situation was handled and a private tow truck was on the way, according to NBC. When police checked his background, they found the driver was wanted on a parole violation connected to a homicide case, NBC News said.
Paramedics and rescue crews knocked on the truck, and they heard knocking back, NBC News said police told them. The migrants had no ability to escape, CNN reported.
“Make no mistake -- the criminal organizations and cartels have no concern for the well-being of the people they smuggle across the border,” acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said on Twitter.
Those discovered in the truck were taken into custody by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, the Daily News reported. It’s unclear when and where the truck allegedly crossed the border.