Immigration Officers Arrest 62 People in Texas 'Stash' House

U.S. Border Patrol agents struck hard blows against trafficking in humans and drugs when they found 62 illegal immigrants crowded into a "stash house" and 35 bundles of methamphetamine hidden in a car door in Texas, officials said Wednesday.

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency coordinated the operation with the Webb County Sheriff's Office in the Lone Star State.

CBP officials said agents received a tip that a large number of illegal immigrants were inside a house in Laredo waiting to be moved to the interior of the United States. Officials determined the migrants were from four countries -- Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

"This enforcement action demonstrates the United States Border Patrol's commitment to work with the Webb County Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement partners to disrupt illicit activity, deny criminal organizations the ability to operate, and protect human life," Laredo Sector Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Jose Martinez said in a prepared statement.

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The operation occurred three days after Border Patrol officers in the same sector seized 44.1 pounds of methamphetamine at a checkpoint on U.S. 59 near Freer, Texas.

Officials said the drugs were hidden inside the rocker panels of a sedan after the car was referred for a search. Agents found at total of 35 bundles, valued at an estimated $1.4 million. Agents arrested a Mexican man and referred the case to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

"The vigilance of the men and women of the United States Border Patrol in disrupting the flow of narcotics attests to our commitment in keeping America and its communities safe," Martinez said in a statement.

Smuggling of drugs and humans has become commonplace along the southwest border. Tuesday also brought a reminder of the dangers facing the men and women who combat those daily threats.

CBP officials also reported Wednesday that a 21-year veteran of the Border Patrol suffered a gunshot wound while patrolling Chimney Canyon in Arizona at about 4:30 a.m. The agent, an experienced paramedic, treated his wound and radioed for help.

According to immigration officials, an unknown number of people attacked the agent, with one firing several gunshots, hitting him several times. Agents rushing to the scene arranged for him to be flown to a local hospital.

The agency did not name the officer. Authorities said the Border Patrol Tactical tactical unit searched the area but did not locate the suspects. Officials described the region as rural and mountainous, with limited surveillance technology.

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at . Follow him on .

(photo credit, homepage and article images: ICE)