What happens when San Antonio police take the lead in a human-smuggling investigation? All the witnesses are sent packing.
For the second time in five months, a semi-truck loaded with illegal aliens wound up in the Alamo City. The first incident ended in tragedy as 10 migrants died in the sweltering summer heat.
On Dec. 23, a dozen immigrants survived the same Laredo-San Antonio trip up Interstate 35. This time, local police pushed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement aside to take over the case.
Under a seldom-used 2011 Texas state law, San Antonio authorities charged driver Herbert Alan Nichols with smuggling. Conviction could bring up to 20 years in prison for smuggling individuals younger than 18. So far, so good.
But, inexplicably, SAPD released all 12 people being transported, leaving no witnesses and crippling the investigation.
A former deputy field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations was stunned.
“I don’t think that I ever saw a situation where there was clearly organized smuggling that they didn’t” involve Homeland Security Investigations and other federal agencies, Julian Calderas told the San Antonio Express-News.
If ICE handled the investigation, the migrants would have been held as material witnesses and, in all likelihood, put into deportation proceedings.
Instead, they’re in the Texas wind.
San Antonio is not an officially declared sanctuary city, but it is behaving like one. By half-stepping an investigation into the latest human smuggling operation, San Antonio’s police and politicians usurped federal authority, demonstrated reckless disregard for human life and gave the green light to more traffickers and their desperate cargo to roll up from Mexico.
The Trump administration must not sit still for such dangerous nonsense.