EAGLE PASS, Texas (NewsNation) — Officials are dealing with an influx of human smuggling attempts along the U.S.-Mexico border, as the Biden administration cracks down on groups fueling a record number of border crossings.
NewsNation exclusively obtained dashcam videos of human smuggling vehicle chases in Texas.
In a video from the Texas Department of Public Safety, or TDPS, a suspected human smuggler led officials on a truck chase through Mission, Texas earlier this month.
In this video, the smuggler can be seen driving a pickup truck and speeding through several red lights in residential neighborhoods in the rain. The truck ultimately pulls to the side of the road and more than 20 migrants run out into the bushes.
The video makes it clear how many migrants are stuffed into these vehicles as the cartels try to squeeze every bit of profit out of these smuggling attempts.
Other exclusive footage shows TDPS pursuing another smuggler through Roma, Texas. In this video, the smuggler gets spooked by the state troopers, drives the car into the Rio Grande River; the migrants get out and swim back to Mexico.
Smugglers don’t always escape. In the Rio Grande Valley, four smuggling busts have been made this week leading to the arrest of 21. In several of these incidents, the smugglers were brazen and drove their vehicles through ranch property fences before getting out and trying to flee on foot. But in three of the four busts, the driver was not located.
Officials say this business is so lucrative that this is one of the toughest issues to slow down on the border.
Last week, eight people, mostly U.S. citizens, were indicted for their roles in smuggling hundreds of people after the U.S. Department of Justice’s anti-trafficking task force dismantled a human smuggling ring at the southern border. Another six co-conspirators were cited in the court record.
In photos released by the DOJ, immigrants can be seen crammed into the back of repurposed water tankers, pickup truck beds and wooden crates with little ventilation.
In June, 53 migrants died after they were trapped in a sweltering tractor-trailer in San Antonio during an unsuccessful smuggling attempt. Four men, including the alleged driver, have been charged in that incident.
Reuters contributed to this report.