US Border Patrol agents recused more than 100 illegal immigrants from three squalid stash houses in a 24-hour period in El Paso Texas this week, officials said Thursday.
Dozen of people were seen crammed into disgusting rooms in dirty homes and motel rooms, according to pics of the 103 immigrants released by Border Patrol.
The find comes just weeks after the deaths of 53 immigrants in San Antonio in the back of a sweltering tractor trailer — and border officials believe a similar tragedy was narrowly averted as the migrants were likely to be soon shipped off in trucks.
“Sheltering immigrants in unsanitary and unsafe conditions is common practice by transnational criminal organizations that disregard the safety of the migrants they exploit,” said El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez.
Three children who were traveling with family were among the dozens of immigrants rescued.
So-called “stash houses” in US border cities are the first stop for immigrants after they enter the country illegal. They could spend anywhere from hours to days in a stash house, a former immigration official tells The Post.
So far this year, Border Patrol agents in El Paso have found more than 175 stash house, leading to the rescue of more than 1,975.
“You can have anywhere from 20 to 100 people in small, one or two bedroom small houses with maybe one bathroom. They’re all sleeping on the floor. Sometimes, they bring them food, but the majority of the time, (smugglers) are moving them from one stash house to another,” said former ICE Deputy Special Agent in Charge Harry Jimenez.
While at the stash house, immigrants do not have the option to leave. An armed person with ties to the smuggled organization keeps watch over them, said Jimenez.
Later, the immigrants are transferred onto a tractor trailer or other vehicle to be smuggled into the country. Once on the smuggling vehicle, immigrants are trapped in the back of big rigs with dozens of other people and no air conditioning or way out in often sweltering conditions.
“It happens a lot. The majority of the time, Border Patrol or the local law enforcement is able to rescue these individuals before there are this many dead,” said Jimenez.