U.S. Border Patrol agents and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers intercepted smugglers using cloned FedEx delivery vans to transport undocumented migrants in El Paso, officials said.
Four suspected smugglers, two from the U.S. and two from Mexico were arrested after 26 migrants from Mexico and Guatemala were found in three vehicles on June 9 on the West Side after investigators received information about a smuggling scheme using cloned FedEx vans, Border Patrol officials said this week.
The migrants were in good health and were detained for processing, the Border Patrol said.
The Border Patrol said that two of the three vehicles stopped were made to look like the white vans from the delivery company.
There is a FedEx Ground facility in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, near one of the hottest border smuggling zones in the El Paso area. Typically, guides take migrants over the border on foot before they are picked up by transport vehicles in the U.S. to be taken to a stash house.
The bust was made by Border Patrol agents with the Santa Teresa Station Anti-Smuggling Unit with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“El Paso Sector Border Patrol Agents continue to successfully disrupt smuggling schemes and the illegal operations of the transnational criminal organizations,” Border Patrol El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Anthony “Scott” Good said in a statement.
“I am grateful for our law enforcement partnerships at the state, local and federal levels. This alliance is successfully disrupting dangerous criminal organizations, their leadership, and their human smuggling schemes,” Good said.
June has seen an average of 435 migrant encounters daily in the El Paso Sector, which covers the westernmost tip of Texas and all of New Mexico, the Border Patrol reported.
Undocumented migrants from Mexico and Guatemala were detained by the U.S. Border Patrol while being transported in a cloned vehicle made to look like a FedEx delivery van in West El Paso.
By comparison, border agents were seeing more than 2,000 migrants daily in the week leading up to the end of Title 42 pandemic-era restrictions on May 11. Migrant flows to the El Paso-Juárez region have since decreased dramatically.
There have been more than 307,400 migrant encounters in the El Paso Sector year to date, including the discovery of 203 stash houses containing 2,871 undocumented migrants, the Border Patrol reported.