INTERSTATE SMUGGLING CORRIDORS, I-40 & I-70 TO THE HEARTLAND
For most people, a long trip from the desert areas of the southwest to the heartland is a great experience. A road trip along I-10, I-25 to I-40 always reveals some beautiful territory in spring and summer as well as stark reality. A brief stop for the U.S. Border Patrol, New Mexico Check point northbound was deeply appreciated. Agents had numerous vehicles in secondary inspections that contained loads of suspected illegal aliens to contraband narcotics. My wife and I were briefly questioned and continued after a short visual interior inspection of the vehicle. My 45 caliber Colt pistol was in a secure lock box which is always used for out-of -state travel despite a valid CCW permit in Arizona.
Beyond the immediate border, the farther north and inland a person drives, vigilant citizens can see many strange and suspicious activities on the road.
Along the I-40 corridor east from Albuquerque to Amarillo, Texas, I observed 37 suspected profile loads of human cargo driven by smugglers. As a former Anti-Smuggling Special Agent, criminal activity was very much in open view. The vehicles were all filled with people, dangerously overloaded in violation of State laws as well as Federal statutes 8 USC 1324. A large U-haul rental truck was leaking a urine trail from the tail gates, an obvious over spilled bodily waste bucket used by packed numbers of illegal aliens. Smuggler Pick-ups, campers, vans, and cars proceeded past a few State DPS Officers who did not respond nor attempt to stop any of the vehicles. This phenomenon was later explained by a State Trooper I met at a rest stop.
The officer stated that Immigration and Customs Enforcement rarely sends anyone on traffic stops involving Human trafficking at interior locations. If they have an Investigator available, it may take hours or several days for response time, meanwhile holding facilities are filled and require additional officers. ICE normally advises to cut them loose if none are identified as felons. This is the new and improved DHS that has changed little from the old INS that had very few criminal investigators per state.
Driving at a leisurely speed through Oklahoma from Oklahoma City to Tulsa, I lost count of suspected smuggling vehicles observed and plate numbers audio recorded after sixty-five. Like counting box cars on a long train, you lose interest after a time and just want to see a clear crossing. On the 6th of April, Tornado Alley along I-40 was also demanding some very serious attention with high wind conditions and Tornado warnings in Kansas City and South Missouri. It was a good time to get off the highway and wait out the storm. Finding a decent Motel is always an adventure especially lower rate rooms that are similar to third world nations in cleanliness. Many older motels along the interstate corridors cater to long range human transporters who will place 15 to 20 people in a room, clear weather or foul while the driver’s rest in a separate quarters. This has been a constant Smuggler Motus Operendi for decades.
I had the opportunity to speak to a group of six illegal aliens who were “buying armloads” of bread, chips and soda at a nearby Circle K. Talking in Spanish to several Chihuahua Mexican nationals, I found that all were heading to Arkansas for jobs in the poultry industry and the promise of guest worker status.. A total of over a hundred entered illegally without inspection near El Paso, Texas. 27 were traveling in the two Ford vans parked at the motel. When the weather cleared, leaving a window of opportunity for travel to Springfield, Missouri, the smugglers and their cargos were reported via cell phone but “Que sera, sera”.There was no human response other than voice a recording, Press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish.
With one trip to Missouri in April by the I-40 corridor and a subsequent trip in August by way of Denver and I-70 east to Kansas City, human trafficking has never ceased on the Interstate smuggling routes nor has the flow of contraband from our Borders. Politicians are alert in an election year that there is a problem coast to coast. Voters, taxpayers are not happy with the Senate and Congress and Enforcement efforts finally seem to be taking place.
Recent news releases from DHS stated that Georgia has the fastest growing illegal alien population estimated at 470,000. In May, 2006, ICE estimated that 700 of 1000 Crider Poultry Employees were using false identification for employment. 120 were arrested in a labor day weekend Immigration mission in Emanuel County, East Georgia.
Operation Return to Sender is a continuing ICE initiative to identify, locate, arrest, process and remove illegal aliens from the United States," according to the press release by Robert Weber, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Criminal aliens with final orders of deportation are also a priority for arrest.
© 2006 John W. Slagle
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John W. Slagle is a U.S. Navy Aviation Veteran, Commercial Pilot, Multi-Engines rated and was a Firefighter, Engineer Lt. prior to United States Border Patrol service spanning 30 years. Duties included Agent/Medic, Special Tracking and Rescue Unit, Intelligence Officer, Sector Pilot to Criminal Investigator.
Slagle spent 12 years in undercover operations nationwide as a Special Agent, Anti-Smuggling Operations involving organized human trafficking, narcotics, certified Master Gun Smith and second degree Nidan black belt Goshin Iaido.
Along the I-40 corridor east from Albuquerque to Amarillo, Texas, I observed 37 suspected profile loads of human cargo driven by smugglers.