DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - Investigators in DeKalb County investigators have intercepted the second immigrant smuggling operation within a month.
Around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, DeKalb County interdiction deputies pulled over a Toyota Sequoia. The vehicle was headed north on Interstate 59, near the 218 mile marker. Deputies said they found 10 illegal immigrants, one of them a juvenile, in the vehicle.
Sheriff’s office spokesman Tyler Pruett said they investigated and believe this was a human smuggling operation. The people were from El Salvador, Ecuador and Guatemala.
He said they likely crossed the border in Texas, and were driving somewhere northeast.
The Department of Homeland Security was called to the scene. The subjects were taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.
This investigation is ongoing and federal charges are pending.
“This is another great job by our Interdiction Team. Even though we are far from the Southern Border, we can still play a role in enforcing our nation’s laws right here in DeKalb County,” said DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden. “While it may seem that they were trying to start a new life in our country, these people are exploited and taken advantage of. Some have to pay thousands of dollars to be smuggled in and are made to work for inhumane wages.”
Nine illegal immigrants were found in a human trafficking operation in May. Preutt said they believe the two operations are unrelated.