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WEATHERFORD (CBSDFW.COM) – Thirty-four people believed to be undocumented immigrants from Mexico and/or Honduras, including three juveniles, were dropped off at the Truck and Travel Truckstop shortly after 6:30 p.m. Sunday according to Weatherford Police.
Police say they got a phone call saying an 18-wheeler box truck stopped there and unloaded the nearly three dozen people from the back of the trailer.
When officers got there they say they found “several undocumented immigrants walking in the parking lot and on the roadway near the business.”
Police say officers were able to locate most if not all of the individuals that came from inside the trailer and subsequently detained them.
Weatherford Police contacted officials with the Immigration and Naturalization Service who were able to verify the subjects had been illegally smuggled into the U.S. and dropped off in Weatherford.
Police say some of the immigrants told them they paid someone to smuggle them into the U.S. at the El Paso/Juarez border. They were then held temporarily at a house in El Paso. The smuggler then contracted with a truck driver to drive the immigrants from El Paso to Dallas, according to Police.
But the truck driver decided to stop in Weatherford to unload all of the immigrants.
Police say all of the individuals were tired, hot and hungry. They had apparently been traveling in the rear of the hot trailer the entire day.
Police say the immigrants had no idea where they were when officers approached them.
The Weatherford Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association volunteers came out and provided them with food and water.
Police say none of the individuals have been charged with a crime and none of them were arrested. They were detained on an INS hold and housed at the Parker County Jail Sunday night. The juveniles were taken to the Weatherford Police Department.
On Monday, Border Patrol agents picked up the immigrants and are currently processing them in Abilene.
Police say there is no evidence at this point that any of the individuals were being held against their will or being held for forced labor.
Police say indications at this point appear to be non-U.S. citizens attempting to enter the country illegally to find work by utilizing an organized human smuggling group.
Investigators have no detailed description of the truck or truck driver.
The truck and driver were already gone from the area before officers got there Sunday.
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