Bexar County Sheriff, Javier Salazar, has disclosed that they are in search of more than 100 immigrants that fled into Texas from a refrigerator parked at a gas station in the San Antonio area.
Salazar said this on Thursday at a press conference stating that the authorities got a hint through a strange telephone call that the smuggling of undocumented immigrants into the country was going on and that they were pleading for air.
When the first set of deputies saw the truck, a few people were alighting from it but torrents of others rushed into the woods when they sighted other deputies approaching the truck.
At least 50 people have been detained, among them 38 men and 12 women, who were all found to be in good health after being examined by emergency workers, Salazar said.
According to Salazar, there were no children among those detained. But he expressed deep concern for those that are unaccounted for over the frigid weather conditions.
“It’s sub-zero temperatures here, just about, and it’s still snowing. And our concern is people are going to be very much exposed to the elements and quite frankly, we’re worried some of these people may be in distress very, very soon here,” Salazar said.
The sheriff asserted that some of the smugglers joined in running into the woods, abandoning their truck.
Right now, authorities are trying to find out more about those involved and figure out who placed the call. He added that those travelling in the truck had “ripped off the gasket from one of the doors, trying to get some fresh air into the truck,” before they fled.
Most of the immigrants fled from Guatemala and El Salvador, officials with Homeland Security Investigations have taken up the probe, Salazar noted. He added that there is video evidence of the incident that would be made public at some point.
Authorities are still looking for the people who ran into the woods, especially since many of them were wearing only jeans and T-shirts in the bitter cold and snow.
Officials said they received a similar call last week. A man speaking Spanish called 911 and said he was inside a tanker trailer carrying 80 smuggled migrants to San Antonio.
Homeland Security Investigations officials have also started probing into last week case.