Homeland Security investigating human smuggling at west-side home

“They don’t care about human life. The migrants are viewed as commodities,” said Jennifer Huerta, Deputy Special Agent, HSI San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO — More than a dozen people were removed from a west-side home overnight. Homeland Security said it was all part of a human smuggling investigation.

Several loud bangs woke up the quiet neighborhood. A neighbor we spoke with said it was sad to see human smuggling activity in his neighborhood.

“The third explosion is what rocked the hell out of everybody, so that was the loudest explosion I ever heard in a neighborhood,” said Ben Rodriguez, neighbor.

Rodriguez said he was watching TV on Thursday night when he was startled by the explosions.

“I thought it was a gas line or you know something to do with a wreck,” said Rodriguez.

The sound was a swarm of law enforcement surrounding a home on the 2700 block of Buena Vista near Zarzamora St. Rodriguez said it’s normally a quiet neighborhood.

“In this neighborhood? Yes, because these are all seniors and people that were veterans that first moved into this neighborhood. Now we’re the next second generation, but could you imagine how everybody felt,” said Rodriguez.

“They don’t care about human life. The migrants are viewed as commodities,” said Jennifer Huerta, Deputy Special Agent, HSI San Antonio.

Homeland Security Investigations San Antonio said this was all part of a human smuggling investigation. About 15 people were removed from the home. HSI said they see an increase in this type of activity during the warmer months.

“They place them in extremely dangerous situations,” said Rodriguez.

HSI said they need the help of the public identifying human smuggling in the community.

“These organizations use stash houses in the neighborhoods. What we’re asking for them is to look for unusual activity. What does that mean? It could be multiple cars coming in and out of the area at all times of the day and night,” said Rodriguez. “It’s the same with people, lots of people coming in and out that are unusual for that location. They might be carrying their personal effects in trash bags or in grocery bags. Locks on the outside of the home, that are unusual amounts of trash or people going into the house with lots of food and water, when there’s not a party going on. Those are just some of the things.”

HSI said it’s extremely important for people to report this type of activity. If you do see suspicious activity, your urged to call HSI’s tip line at 1-866-DHS-2ICE, and you can remain anonymous.

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