JACKSON COUNTY – More than 60 migrants and a driver have been apprehended after being found inside a disabled 18-wheeler in Jackson County Friday morning, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. Officials also say several others remain on the loose.
Deputies said a trooper was checking on the disabled 18-wheeler on US-59 and CR 202 around 7:10 a.m. when the migrants were found.
Sheriff Kelly Janica said after the trooper opened the back of the rig, he saw dozens of people spill out and start running for a near-by cornfield. Janica says 61 migrants, all believed to have crossed the border illegally, plus the driver were eventually apprehended.
“Bad situation these guys just apparently desperate for water and you know, I just feel badly for them,” said property owner Dr. Robert Burlingame.
Burlingame said some of the migrants cut into an irrigation line to get water. Burlingame said a tenant of his later found several of the migrants walking through the property.
“He just said, you know, ‘get in the back of the truck and I’ll take you to some water,’ and they followed him,” said Burlingame.
Deputies said a total of nine migrants were treated at the hospital for dehydration. All those apprehended were taken to the Jackson County jail in the town of Edna, where they’ll be transferred to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Janica said he was able to talk with a Honduran national who spoke fluent English. Janica said the man told him the group was picked up the night before at the border and were not given any food or water. The man said they drove through the night before breaking down in Jackson County.
Janica said the migrants were from Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Janica said there did not appear to be any children among the group.
Janica said he has never seen this many immigrants bail out in the county before this failed smuggling attempt.
“Hell, it’s a mess, I don’t know how else to put. Texas is in trouble,” said Janica. “Ten, twelve, fourteen, three, five, maybe once or twice 20, but nothing like this.”