An official who did not want to be named due to the ongoing investigation into the death of over 50 migrants in an overheated truck in Texas last week says the truck successfully passed through a Laredo checkpoint before the bodies were discovered.
The anonymous official told the Associated Press the tractor-trailer that contained 73 migrants passed through a Border Patrol checkpoint located about 26 miles North of Laredo before the grisly discovery of 53 dead bodies was made last Monday in San Antonio. The checkpoint was located approximately 100 miles from the US-Mexico border.
It is unclear at this time whether the tractor-trailer was stopped or whether the driver was questioned by Border Patrol agents when it went through the checkpoint. The checkpoint is located on Interstate 35, a busy highway where stopping every vehicle would result in snarled traffic.
The checkpoints have been controversial in the past due to the possibility of racial profiling and police brutality, but Border Patrol officials say they are relatively effective in locating illegal immigrants and have resulted in the detainment of 35,700 illegal migrants from 2016-2020.
On Thursday, the same day the AP reported the truck had made it through the Laredo checkpoint, the driver of the tractor-trailer appeared in court for a hearing in which the judge appointed him a second attorney since he is likely facing the death penalty for his role in the deaths.
Officials reported the migrant smugglers had confiscated the cell phones of all the migrants on the truck, which could possibly have led to the high number of deaths inside the sweltering vehicle.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CNN
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