An alleged human smuggler busted after a wild police chase in Texas claimed he’d arrived from Indiana and was being paid $3,000 a head to drive.
As thousands of migrants flood over the southern border daily, activity by cartels and criminals taking advantage of them has increased.
Police dash cam video showed the driver racing dangerously through streets in Uvalde County as he tried to evade authorities, before losing control and crashing.
The visibly injured driver was interviewed by a Texas trooper while waiting for an ambulance arrived and appeared to have no idea who the people in his vehicle were.
“How many people did you have in the car?” asked the trooper.
“I didn’t count it; I panicked,” said the unidentified driver.
An unknown number of newly-arrived immigrants were being smuggled in the car from the US border with Mexico to San Antonio, according to Texas DPS.
“They had the trunk down…or the backseat down, and so I think they all just started crawling out,” said a trooper.
Three illegal immigrants were taken into custody, including one with a severe head injury.
“The driver stated he was getting paid $3k per person he smuggled to San Antonio,” tweeted Texas DPS Spokesman Lt. Chris Olivarez.
It was not immediately clear who was paying the driver, but people smuggling cartels are known to transport migrants from destinations in Mexico to cities throughout the US.
Human smugglers put immigrants in danger as part of their efforts to sneak them into and across the country, often using unsafe and inhumane conditions.
In June, 53 people died trapped in the back of a sweltering tractor trailer in +100 degree heat as they attempted to make it to San Antonio.
Those being smuggled could not open the trailer doors and spent hours without water or air conditioning. The incident has been described as the deadliest case of human smuggling in US history.