Dozens of illegal immigrants from Central America, including six unaccompanied teenagers, were found living in a stash house used for human trafficking in southeastern New Mexico, officials said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents said last week they discovered 67 illegal immigrants from Guatemala and Ecuador cramped inside an unfurnished and filthy 20-foot-by-20-foot wooden shed in Dexter, N.M.
The shed was an addition to a travel trailer and had no working toilet. A sign written in Spanish and placed on the trailer's bathroom door read, “Don’t use the bathroom.”
ICE agents said the immigrants were given minimal food and water.
Special agent Jack P. Staton called the conditions “deplorable” and said it shows that criminal human smuggling organizations “have no respect for human life.”
“Human smuggling is a multibillion-dollar enterprise, and the individuals being smuggled are viewed as cargo by the criminal networks. ICE Homeland Security Investigations continues to investigate this organization and will hold them accountable for their illicit activities," he said in a statement.
Tomas Miguel Mateo, a 38-year-old Guatemalan native, was charged with harboring illegal immigrants and unlawfully re-entering the United States after being previously deported.