97 illegal immigrants found chilling in a frigid tractor trailer

What started as a routine traffic stop for a refrigerated commercial tractor trailer ended up as a hefty illegal immigrant bust on July 29, according to a press release from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety officer stopped the trailer for an equipment violation after getting a tip, perhaps ironically, from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol.

Packed in the back with chilled out cargo/Ryn Gargulinski

Packed in the back with chilled out cargo/DPS photo

The DPS officer pulled over the truck on Interstate 19 at kilometer 24, north of Nogales, to take the driver into custody on a misdemeanor warrant.

He then peeked in the back of the truck.

In addition to a load of produce chilling out in the 34-degree temperature, he found 97 illegal immigrants. They included adults and children, the latter ranging in age from 9 to 12.

The produce type was not specified but photos of the empty truck show chewed up watermelon rinds along with water jugs and bottles, a mere 2 degrees above freezing.

The aliens, who were found to be from both Mexico and Guatemala, were taken to the Nogales Border Patrol station where they will be processed and returned to their native countries.

Smile for the camera/DPS photo

Smile for the camera/DPS photo

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are coordinating the investigation into the smuggling scheme.

“This is yet another frightening example of the callous disregard human smugglers have for those who entrust their lives to them,” said Matthew Allen, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Arizona.

“These people were treated like cargo. They were crammed inside this truck and subjected to near freezing temperatures. Fortunately, due to the swift action of the law enforcement agencies involved in this case, none of these people came to any harm.”


What do you think?

Are you appalled at the precarious situations people put themselves in just to cross the border?

Would you rather be smuggled across the blazing desert or in a freezing tractor trailer?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
This entry was posted in Crime, danger, death, environment, immigrants, life, Police/fire/law, politics, Stupidity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to 97 illegal immigrants found chilling in a frigid tractor trailer

  1. azmouse says:

    Seems better cold than if that wasn’t a refrigerated truck. They would’ve roasted.

    These people go to any extreme, but to put your kids in that situation? What kind of an example are you setting for your children when you break laws with them there?

    • leftfield says:

      Sorry – had to work today.  You know that I love you, mouse, but wondering about what kind of example these people might be setting for their children shows just how far removed most of us are from appreciating the reality of the migrants’ situation.   It’s a perspective that only well-fed, safe and secure Americans can afford to have.   

      • azmouse says:

        Love ya too, leftfield. Thanks for saying that to soften the blow you’re bringing! lol
        I do realize that even poverty level americans have got it great compared to people in so many other countries. As a Mom, I also know I’d do anything to make sure my kids had their basic needs met. I just can’t relate to breaking laws to do it, that’s all.

  2. azmouse says:

    Leftfield, where are you?

  3. radmax says:

    I just have 1 question-why are they still coming???

    • azmouse says:

      I hear ya, RadMax.

    • Rynski says:

      I have a couple questions:
      Where did they pee while in the tractor trailer?
      Why are some of them grinning so big in the photos (you can’t really tell with the pix reduced, but in the second photo the guy with the red sleeves looks like he’s about to burst out laughing)? Do they think this is a big joke? …or maybe they are just so happy to be out of near-freezing into the blasting sun.

      • Ado says:

        Where did they pee, Ski ? Jus’ use yer imagination, and don’t buy any lettuce this week.

      • Elizabeth "Bjay" Woolley says:

        lol Ryn, I had that same question about the lady who was squatting in that man’s drive-way in Marana.  I was wondering where she was going to do her business.

    • Carolyn Gonzales says:

      Seriously, “why are they still coming”? If you can’t make enough money in your home country to survive, no obstacle will prevent you from trying to get somewhere where you can. Southern Mexico is very poor and feeling the effects of NAFTA; Central America is poorer still and now dealing with the fallout of CAFTA. Read a book or a newspaper.

      • radmax says:

        I case you just came out of your cave, we’re in the worst economic depression since the big one. Get a clue or let them all stay at YOUR house.

  4. stay home says:

    How did they get across the border in the first place. And the dummies in Tubac want the I-19 check point closed.

  5. stay home says:

    he’s smiling because he will be back by this afternoon. should of put a lock on the doors and sent them on down the re way

  6. stay home says:

    Yup. And they know if they make it nobody is going to do any thing about it. Just like the officer shot down in Calif. hardly made the news,but had it been the other way you would never here the end of it

  7. Elizabeth "Bjay" Woolley says:

    97 illegal immigrants in a tractor trailer, 97 illegal immigrants.  Take one down, pass him around, 96 illegal immigrants in a tractor trailer.
    Sorry, couldn’t help it.  lol
    I have some explanations for the smiles.
    I’ll probably get some hate for this,  but there is a difference between the mafiosos and the migrants.  The migrants are often pretty down-to-earth, happy-go-lucky sorts who don’t really get angry.
    Just look at the faces in the picture, I don’t see many faces of hardened violent criminals or mafiosos.
    My sister, dad, and I often go down to Lochiel, on the border to drive around.  There used to be lots of big ranches down there.  It’s a lot of beautiful fertile flat grasslands and lots of wildlife.
    We used to always see the migrants trying to cross to work and getting caught.  Sometimes it was comical.  There would be a big group of them sticking out on the flatland like a sore thumb and when we drove by, they would drop to the ground, lay flat and freeze – mere feet from the car.  I’d roll down the window and say, “Ummmm, but I still see you!”  Minutes later they’d get caught.
    Of course I’m sure many made it through to find farm work.  Often when they got caught, they would just smile and sometimes seem apologetic.  We also saw them going back the other way to go home.  They were migrant meaning they came to work for the season and then went home.
    I wasn’t ever afraid of the migrant ones.  One time we got our truck stuck in a running sandy river.  I was very pregnant, cell phones waterlogged, and we had been out in the sun all day unable to get the truck out.  About three or four men appeared (I’m assuming they were illegal, I don’t know for sure) and accomplished the near-impossible momentous task of digging our 3/4 ton pick up out of the river and and hauling it up the side – at least 8 feet high.   (Don’t ask me how we got stuck lol).  The whole time these guys were smiling, no joke.   We tried to give them $80 but they wouldn’t take it.  They said something, but not knowing Spanish, have no idea what they were saying.  They just pointed in the direction of town and took off.
    Now there are the cameras and the big blimp flying around down there, so it’s pretty much impossible for them to come that way.   So, lately when we’ve gone down to that area we haven’t seen any.
    I was impressed, I thought it was a good thing and it was working since we saw nobody crossing.  However, when we drive back through Nogales, what I am seeing is more are these deals.  They are paying people to drive them across in vans and tractor trailers.  So now they are coming across with the coyotes and probably inadvertantly running interference for the drug dealers, the mafiosos and the non-farm workers who cause the more serious problems.
    The last time we drove back and went through the Border Patrol checkpoint, we were behind this van that had all it’s make/model signs removed, spray painted body (covering a plumbing company name), windows painted black with spray paint and the vehicle hanging awfully low, but it got waved through.  So  I guess it’s better odds for them that way now.  But it also seems like it’s increasing the chances of high-speed chases.
    I also am reading news stories that because it’s so hard to get back and forth, they are no longer being migrant, they are staying here and taking measures to settle.  Aye, yay, yay, what a complicated problem.  Hopefully it’s just getting worse before it gets better.
    These pictures remind me of the migrant scene in Dumb and Dumber…they just need some guitars and sing the mockingbird song lol.
    Sorry so long, I walked away from the computer like 6 times and just kept rambling when I came back, lol.

    • Alex says:

      Wow – it’s like every post I read on this blog reveals a new depth of idiocy and racism.
      It must be an interesting life for you, being so stupefyingly dumb that you find humor in the plight of these people trying to survive.  Oh, right, I forgot, they are from the other side of an imaginary line drawn in the dirt, so they’re not worthy of respect or compassion.
      What am I saying – you fit right in with with the other morons that frequent this blog…

      • Elizabeth "Bjay" Woolley says:

        I often use humor when talking about serious problems .  This is one I’ve lived with all my life and understand,  as some of those people could very well be family members.  When I re-read this, it does come across as mocking them, and I didn’t mean for that.  Sorry if it came across as insensitive.
        The bottles of beer reference was making fun of the casual title because the title kept making me think of that song.The Dumb and Dumber, that’s one of my favorite movie scenes ever.  I guess my taste in movies gives my tasteless sense of humor away.
        As far as my personal beliefs.  I know they need to make a living, and as far as just wanting to come and earn some money to to live, I understand that.  I’d probably do the same thing.
        However, I grew up on the south side of Tucson.  If you don’t live here, that’s where it has a high Mexican population.  Some are illegal.  The big problems happen when the drug dealers and mafioso members come through the border as well and they cause the big problems.
        There were times we would hear gunshots nightly and have to lay flat on the floor.  Our house would get hit.  There would be executions in the wash behind our house.  It was the illegals who came over to do crime and they didn’t give a squat about the rest of us.  Plus they gave the ones who just wanted to keep to themselves and work a bad name.
        So that makes it a very complicated problem.  I understand the need to make a living.  But being a mom, I don’t want to become the victim of a high-speed chase or for good people and kids trying to live in peace to have to be scared of the violence or witness these things.
        More energy on both sides of the border needs to be put into trying to stop the criminal activity and make it easier for these people to come over and work.
        Anyway sorry if my humor offended you.  As I said, that’s often how I deal with things and this issue often hits close to home for me and I do get see what the conditions are on the other side first-hand.

  8. erniemccray says:

    How many of us, if our families were homeless and starving with no jobs in sight, but we heard of jobs and opportunities across the border that would allow us to SURVIVE, and we discovered a way to cross – how many of us would think: “It sure would be nice to get one of those gigs, but no, it’s “illegal”; my bad for even thinking of going through that tunnel. My family will just have to do without.”
    My goodness, people, where’s your empathy, your compassion, your deeper sense of right and wrong? The world needs love, not lol. This subject as played out on this blog has disturbed me deeply. I don’t recall a smiling face on anyone in the pictures and if there happened to be one or two or a few, they were far outweighed by expressions of pain and defeat, hopelessness and despair.

    • radmax says:

      Ernie, the jobs ain’t here anymore pal. So what happens to immigrant families here with no no hope. I have guys that I had to lay off looking for their jobs back, and they are legal.

      • erniemccray says:

        There it is: a rough rough world, so hopeless for so many, be they legal or illegal, so rough that labels like legal or illegal are rendered meaningless. A new way of thinking is going to have to evolve worldwide if future generations are to have any kind of chance of getting along and “making it.”
        And I could imagine that it must be heart rendering for you to turn away people searching for a job.

      • radmax says:

        It is one of the toughest things I ever do, telling a guy with a family to just ‘hang in there’, when there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

    • leftfield says:

      Thank you for your comment, ernie. 

      • erniemccray says:

        And gracias por your comment, leftfield. I’ve read your “right on” comments in several categories and feel a connection to your thoughts. I’m very much on the “left” side of things in many ways. I’d like to share with you a little piece I wrote in Retroflections under “Welcome to Tucson Arizona 1958.” Life has forced me to the left – from my childhood to this very day – and I’m quite comfortable there. Being an educator it’s made life quite interesting for me because our society likes its educators conservative and wrapped around flags and empty sentiments rather than creative and openminded and ready and willing to meet the needs of all learners.
        As a principal of a school in San Diego when California, through Proposition 187, asked principals to check the citizenship of families – well, I refused, saying that I would never insult the beautiful young human beings at my school, my dear friends, people with whom I had a strong bond, with such nonsense. Not after the way this country early on treated people like me.
        Anyway, have a great day, man

  9. arizona81 says:

    Did you know that in Arizona illegal immigrant mothers can collect cash assistance for their children until they turn 18?  Did you also know that a legal resident of Arizona can only collect cash assistance for their children for 60 months?  Why are legal residents punished.  Does Arizona really feel that strongly against their own residents?  If they are going to allow illegal residents to obtain benefits should not all be treated equally?

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