Human Smuggler in Texas Sentenced to Prison for Locking Migrants in Tanker Truck

Border Patrol agents arrest a group of migrants locked inside a tanker trailer. (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Laredo Sector)
Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Laredo Sector

A federal court in South Texas sentenced a member of the Mexican Mafia gang to 33 months in prison for his role in a human smuggling scheme. The conviction came from a May 2021 incident where Rafael Alberto Cazarez, Jr. drove 54 migrants trapped inside a tank.

The tanker, driven by Cazarez, approached an immigration checkpoint located west of Laredo, Texas, on May 28, according to court documents reviewed by Breitbart Texas. A Border Patrol K-9 alerted to the possible presence of drug or human cargo coming from the tanker trailer.

Agents inspected the compartment and found 54 migrants. The migrants had no means of escaping from their captivity in the event of a crash or abandonment.

Cazarez told Border Patrol investigators he is a member of the Mexican Mafia gang, court records revealed. He admitted to at least seven other smuggling incidents where he was paid a flat rate of $50,000 per load.

Homeland Security Investigations special agents utilized some of the migrants packed inside the trailer as material witnesses against the three people involved in the smuggling incident.

The Mexican national pleaded guilty in July and was ordered held in custody pending a November sentencing hearing, the court’s records indicate.

The court sentenced Cazarez, Jr. on November 10, 2021, to spend 33 months in federal prison, the Laredo Morning Times reported.

Also involved in the incident were Ricardo Javier Vela and Jaime Villarreal Vigil who also pleaded guilty in July. They were sentenced in October to 44 months and 33 months respectively, the local news outlet stated.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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