WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Up to 13 people were arrested at the Wichita Falls Travel Information Center on Central East Freeway in what officials call a human trafficking situation.
Authorities stopped the driver for speeding and noticed 11 or more people packed in the backseat of an SUV. Wichita County Sheriff David Duke said all of the individuals are from Mexico and they were traveling from Albuquerque.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials were also on the scene and they will take over this investigation after the individuals are transported.
Duke said it’s been a couple of years since an arrest like this has happened in Wichita County, but he is not surprised that it happens.
“When you have four major highways come through Wichita County which is U.S. 82, U.S. 281, U.S. 287 and I-44, there’s a lot of things that cross through here in Wichita Falls that people just don’t realize what they’re riding by,” Duke said. “And they drive down Central Freeway every day going home or going back to work or coming home.”
The individuals arrested are now waiting to be transported to Fort Worth where they will be in the custody of ICE. The driver of the car will be charged with speeding, lack of proof of insurance and driving without a license. He will be in the Wichita County jail, but ICE will put a detainer on him to transport him as well.
Sheriff Duke also said there was no instance of sex trafficking, just undocumented human trafficking.
UPDATE: Sept 29, 3:33 p.m.
According to Sheriff David Duke, this is a human trafficking situation.
This started as a routine traffic stop around 12:42 p.m in the 900 block of Central Freeway near the Wichita Falls Travel Information Center where police said they stopped a white SUV for speeding.
When they pulled over the SUV to get the driver’s information, they noticed 11 or more adults “packed in the backseat.”
Duke said the SUV was traveling from Albuquerque, New Mexico and the driver takes people from Albuquerque to Dallas frequently.
There will be no criminal charges for the detainees and ICE officials are on there way to the scene from Dallas with a bus to take the detainees into custody.
The driver of the SUV was arrested for driving without a license, lack of proof of insurance, and speeding.
The SUV will be impounded.
Duke also said ICE officials will take over for further investigation.
A traffic stop in Wichita Falls lead the discovery of multiple people in one vehicle Tuesday afternoon.
Wichita Falls police responded to a call about a traffic stop around 12:42 p.m. in the 900 block of Central Freeway near the tourist bureau.
Multiple agencies are on scene including Wichita County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
We also have crew on scene to find out more information.
Stick with Texoma’s Homepage for updates.