Large group of immigrants rescued from cold trailer

FALFURRIAS — Sixty people who were concealed within a load of iced-down produce were rescued Saturday by Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol agents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said.

Agents referred the tractor-trailer driver to secondary inspection early Saturday at the checkpoint after officials said a K-9 alerted them. Inside the trailer the large group was discovered lying on and within pallets of broccoli lined with a thin sheet of ice.

The trailer’s doors were secured with a padlock, and the group had no means of escape. Officials said the trailer’s temperature reading was 49 degrees.

All who were rescued declined medical attention, officials said. They were taken to the Falfurrias Border Patrol Station and processed.

CBP officials said the group consisted of 22 Guatemalans, 17 Mexicans, 13 Salvadorans and eight Hondurans.

The driver, who is a Guatemalan national, was arrested and is facing federal charges for alien smuggling, officials said.

“ Criminal activity like this will also lead to serious consequences for truck drivers who engage in smuggling,” RGV Sector Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla Jr. stated in the news release.