Nine people were treated for dehydration and scores of others fled the scene when authorities discovered up to 100 undocumented workers in the trailer of a broken-down semi in rural Texas, officials said Friday.
The truck became disabled on a rural highway about 2 miles north of the town of Ganado. When authorities investigated just after 7 a.m. CT, they discovered a packed trailer. They apprehended 10 people while others ran from the scene.
Jackson Sheriff Kelly R. Janica told reporters nine people were hospitalized with dehydration and at least four of them have been released.
People from the trailer told him they did not have drinks or any provisions, he said.
“Evidently they came during the night, so that was (Thursday), and this morning they hadn’t had any water whatsoever,” the sheriff said.
He said it “may have been a blessing that the truck broke down” where it did because one man who could speak English told him they were heading much farther north.
A news release from the sheriff’s office said 64 people, including the truck driver were detained, and there might “still be 40 undocumented individuals that have not been apprehended.” The undocumented workers were to be turned over to US Customs and Border Protection, the sheriff told reporters.
The people were from Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras and at least one other country, the sheriff said.
Janica said there haven’t been any other incidents of this magnitude with undocumented workers in his county. Most involve just a few people, he said, with some stops of up to 20 individuals.
According to CNN affiliate KHOU, people who fled were found on Dr. Robert Burlingame’s property.
“I spotted two of them in the cornfields,” Burlingame told the Houston-based station. “These guys were so desperate for water, you just hollered ‘water’ and they’d come running out.”
The sheriff said deputies would not be searching for more people but will be in the area overnight and Saturday to offer aid to people who need it.
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