BEXAR COUNTY, Texas (KABB) - State and federal authorities are searching for a tractor-trailer in Texas that may be smuggling about 80 undocumented immigrants, and some of them may already be dead.
It’s a desperate search for alleged victims of a human trafficking operation, trapped in the back of a tanker truck.
The 911 call is difficult to listen to, one of several from someone alleging to be in the tanker with other immigrants. The caller said they were out of oxygen.
The comments are translated from Spanish:
Operator: “Do you see anything?”
Caller: “No, no we can’t see anything, God, we don’t have oxygen.”
Dispatcher: “You are next to the highway?”
Caller: “Yes, I hear the cars.”
Caller: “A tanker. A white tanker.”
Caller: “Yes. We are like 80 people.”
Dispatcher: “Do you remember who was driving?”
Caller: “No we don’t know who. Help!”
Dispatcher: “Do you have another cell phone?”
Caller: “Help! Holy be God, help!”
Operator: “Where did you start this trip? ... I lost him.”
The calls were made to both the San Antonio Police Department and the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
“And so, it’s heartbreaking to hear because clearly behind the caller, in the background, you can hear others in the car, in the trailer and they’re, they’re also screaming for help in Spanish, and saying that they’re out of air,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said.
In video recorded by a surveillance camera on I-35 near Fischer road around midnight, you see the tanker and a black pickup pull up and then leave. They do that twice.
The caller, at one point, says that some people are already dead.
This is why the sheriff’s office, Homeland Security investigators, the state Department of Public Safety and San Antonio Police Department are asking anyone with information to come forward.
“I bet a lot of money that if the smugglers do encounter somebody in the back of that trailer that is very, very ill as a result of the conditions they were exposed to or even dead, they’re not going to do the right thing,” Salazar said. “They’re going to dump a body or they’re going to abandon somebody at a hospital maybe. They’re certainly not going to do the right thing, and so we’re letting our deputies know to be on the lookout for anything.”
The only thing that is certain right now is that the tanker was traveling to San Antonio and the signal from the caller was picked up around this area where the surveillance video is from.
Tips can be called into the Department of Homeland Security’s anonymous tip line at (866) 347-2423. They can also be called into the San Antonio Police Department or Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.