A rogue white tank truck has found itself at the centre of a suspected human trafficking operation after a distressing 911 call told emergency services there were over 80 trapped inside.
The call was revealed to have taken place on Monday last week but was only obtained and aired by NBC and Mexican sister network Telemundo yesterday.
“We can’t see anything,” the panicked caller said in Spanish.
“We’re inside a tank truck. God, we have no oxygen.”
Another man in the background could be heard saying “Help! Blessed God!” over background commotion of stressed companions saying they can’t breath.
Surveillance footage captured the suspected truck in the Texas city of San Antonio, sparking a state-wide search for the captive migrants.
An official representing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) revealed the agency’s Homeland Security Investigations unit is investigating the call as a link to a “possible human smuggling event”.
The disturbing development came after US President Joe Biden declared his administration would be slowly letting in 25,000 migrants from Mexico in a bit to rebuild a “safe and orderly” immigration system following the departure of Donald Trump.
“As President Biden has made clear, the U.S. government is committed to rebuilding a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said. “This latest action is another step in our commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation’s values.”
January saw a six per cent rise in illegal migrants crossing into the US, with officials encountering nearly 78,000 people from Mexico on its southern border. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was concerned limited releases in the U.S. may encourage others to cross illegally.
“We don’t want people to put themselves in danger at a time where it is not the right time to come, because we have not had time to put in place a humane and moral system and process,” she said.