(The Center Square) – As the Biden administration moves forward with ending Title 42 enforcement, Mexican cartels and their operatives are making preparations to move a massive amount of illegal immigrants, Goliad County Sheriff Roy Boyd told The Center Square in an exclusive interview.
Boyd calls the migrants “modern-day slaves” who are being moved “through a massive human trafficking network” into Houston.
“Cartels are preparing to transport slaves to Houston for distribution throughout the U.S.,” he said.
After the Biden administration announced it was ending Title 42, an uptick in human smuggling occurred in Goliad, Boyd told The Center Square. In the past few weeks, he said, his deputies have arrested several smugglers.
But what is more unusual, he said, is that they started to find stolen vehicles stashed deep into the brush off farm-to-market roads. The vehicles were intentionally placed there for human smuggling purposes, he said. The sheriff’s office also received reports of stolen vehicles from residents living in remote areas at the edge of the county, which is out of the ordinary, he added.
“Activity is picking up,” he told The Center Square. “We suspect that the cartels and their operatives are making preparations for the coming surge by stealing and stashing trucks, identifying unused rural properties, and scouting foot paths. Due to the overwhelming number of people waiting to gain illegal entry into Texas, we suspect that illegal aliens will once again be stashed illegally on private property in our area.”
Boyd has been aggressively combating illegal immigration even though his county is 150 miles north of the Texas-Mexico border.
Goliad, the site of a famous battle and massacre of Texas revolutionary troops by the Mexican Army in 1836, might seem like an unlikely ground zero for another battle with a Mexican foe. But Boyd said he and his eight deputies are up against some of the deadliest transnational criminal organizations in the world: Mexican cartels. Boyd said he and his deputies are standing in the way of cartels and their operatives motivated to make tens of millions of dollars a week trafficking people as a result of the Biden administration’s open border policies.
Goliad County, roughly 850 square miles, is a heavily trafficked pass-through county where Mexican cartels and Texas gangs have sought to establish stash sites, or human trafficking stopping points, as they make their way north to Houston.
Houston, the largest city in Texas, is one of the largest human trafficking hubs in the U.S. From Goliad, it’s roughly a two-hour drive northeast on Highway 59. Laredo is roughly a three-hour drive southwest from Goliad.
Over the past year, Boyd and his deputies have been monitoring 16 known stash locations in the county, he said. They’ve been working 24-7 catching mostly single men, tracking them into the brush on foot even into the night. They’re pursuing illegal immigrants evading capture who bail out of vehicles after high-speed chases. They pursue trespassers on private property who steal vehicles or other items, breaking into private property as they make their way north.
Boyd described an encounter a local resident recently had with an illegal immigrant who trespassed on a high game fence ranch between Charco and Runge. The owner was fishing with his wife during the encounter.
“Fortunately, the trespasser fled instead of engaging with them,” Boyd said, as he and his deputies learned about the incident after the fact. “But landowners in rural areas need to be vigilant. This isn’t the first time our residents have encountered illegals in this part of Texas. There are known foot paths they’re taking as they head north already scouted by the cartels.”
Cartel operatives in Texas have identified pathways for illegal immigrants to follow traveling by foot. Illegal immigrants traveling north by foot often follow landmarks, like pipelines, railroad tracks, telephone lines, and highway right-of-ways, for example. They may have scouts, travel in groups, or alone. They’re often given cell phones with GPS pin drops to locate stash sites along the way. The stash sites are often littered with trash and stolen seats from vehicles.
Normally underfunded and understaffed, Boyd’s office received additional funding through Texas’ border security initiative Operation Lone Star. The funding enabled him to hire additional deputies and to create a task force with other sheriffs’ offices and agencies. Last year, the Texas Legislature allocated $3 billion to border security efforts.
Their regional task force, Boyd said, is already paying dividends in counterintelligence efforts.
However, he’s warning Texans to remain vigilant, and Americans, to realize that “Biden’s border crisis isn’t limited to the border. It’s heading north to every major city and small town in the U.S.”