U.S. Border Patrol officials again highlighted the ongoing events at the southern border this week. The officials announced that human traffickers have resorted to using decoy FedEx delivery vans to ferry migrants across the border in El Paso, Texas as reported by the El Paso Times. On June 9, a joint operation involving the Santa Teresa Station Anti-Smuggling Unit and the Texas Department of Public Safety led to the arrest of four alleged smugglers, two American and two Mexican citizens.
These individuals were operating three vehicles loaded with migrants, with two of them disguised as FedEx delivery vans. A total of 26 migrants, hailing from Mexico and Guatemala, were discovered within these vehicles. Migrants are typically escorted across the border by guides before they are collected by these transport vehicles and subsequently moved to hideouts nationwide.
Express Consequence Delivery!#SantaTeresa Station Anti-Smuggling Unit agents along with @TxDPSWest intercepted a smuggling scheme involving 26 smuggled migrants. Of the 3 vehicles involved, 2 were cloned FedEx vans. The smugglers will face charges!@cbp pic.twitter.com/kCP5tvtgR4
— Anthony “Scott” Good (@USBPChiefEPT) June 14, 2023
According to Vice News, the use of cloned FedEx vans is a strategic move by smugglers due to FedEx’s operations in close proximity to the US-Mexico border. As a result, the presence of FedEx vans in the area does not raise suspicion among border agents. The authorities are now faced with the challenge of determining the extent of this decoy transport network. They are investigating whether traffickers are also making use of other corporate vehicles, such as Amazon or UPS, to smuggle migrants to various states.
Data from the United States Customs and Border Protection points to an alarming increase in the number of illegal crossings at the southern border. The fiscal year 2022 saw an average of 230,545 illegal encounters per month. However, the figures for the 2023 fiscal year are already showing an average of 259,565 illegal encounters per month, which could lead to a record-breaking number of undocumented migrants entering the country.