The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and deportation authorities found at least 67 immigrants, including teens, living in a stash house in southeastern New Mexico.
The immigrants, who entered the province illegally, were forced to live in a filthy, unfurnished 20×20 shed-room, in addition to a travel trailer. They had limited access to basics, such as, food and water.
In a press release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Jack Stanton, special agent in charge of HSI El Paso said, “As the deplorable conditions of this stash house demonstrate, transitional criminal organizations (TCOs) have no respect for human life.”
Stanton also called human smuggling as a multi-billion-dollar business, and said that the smugglers usually have an inhumane outlook toward the individuals. They are often treated as cargo by the criminal networks.
Stanton added, “HSI continues to investigate this organization and will hold them accountable for their illicit activities.”
The stash house were found in Dexter, which is located 230 miles northeast of the border city of El Paso, Texas.
The living condition of these immigrants was described as “miserable” by the special agents.
The sanitary facilities were poor, and the toilets were not fit for use. A note on the bathroom’s door read, ‘Don’t use the bathroom.’
According to the authorities, the area was being long used a smuggling hub, and the investigation is in progress.
In a press release from the office of the US Attorney for the District of New Mexico, Tomas Miguel Mateo, 38, of Guatemala is charged with sheltering the illegal immigrants in the US territory. A federal criminal complaint has also been filed, charging Mateo with illegitimately penetrating the United States border after having been deported in the past.
Currently, the accused is in custody awaiting a detention hearing Tuesday. If found guilty, he might face up to 20 years in jail, as mentioned in the release.