“When people are smuggling humans, it leads to bigger stuff like drug and gang activity and illegal activity,” GWPD Chief Ray Garcia said. “People have got to look at that, we got people out of this trailer and hopefully we don’t get the gangs associated with the smuggling of humans and the drugs that go with the proceeds of human smuggling.”
The incident was part of an ongoing investigation for GWPD. Members of Department of Public Safety and Live Oak County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident along with GWPD.
Garcia also said that they were surprised to find so many in one location this far from the border.
Garcia attributed the find to getting calls with the right information at the right time. He said there were 13 men inside the trailer, all between the ages of 15 and 30, and three of them escaped by running into the brush.
Garcia also said the trailer, owned by Robert Ybanez and rented out to Billie Luna, was functioning as a “stash house” where illegals would stay before continuing to Houston, Dallas and other parts of the county.
“No telling what they would have encountered once left George West,” Garcia said. “(They) could have been used for slave labor or some other activity.”
After receiving calls about the residence, GWPD set up surveillance in an unmarked vehicle, according to Garcia. He said a lot of what goes into identifying an illegal alien involves details such as mismatched clothing.
According to Garcia, the trailer was in “deplorable” condition with roaches inside the fridge and a collapsing ceiling, he also said the trailer could be seized.
“In my opinion, I don’t believe he (Ybanez) had knowledge of what was going on in the trailer,” Garcia said.
Garcia said residents who suspect a residence is harboring illegals should contact the GWPD and that harboring illegal aliens is a felony.
“Here in George West everyone knows everyone,” Garcia said as he explained how having large amounts of unfamiliar people frequent the trailer on different occasions was cause for suspicion.
Although it is rare to find so many illegal aliens in one place at one time in this area, it’s not the only case that’s under investigation, according to Garcia.
“We have other information on other places and other people that may be in the business of harboring illegal immigrants,” Garcia said. “It’s going to catch up to them.”