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Truck driver commits suicide after smuggling attempt

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Truck driver commits suicide after being arrested for migrant smuggling attempt in Texas earlier this month. 

The incident began at about 6:45 p.m. on February 17th when a red tractor trailer arrived at the Interstate 35 Border Checkpoint and a K9 agent alerted to the possible presence of contraband. Agents searched the tractor trailer and found seven migrants hidden inside of the cab, so the truck driver was arrested. 

According to Laredo Morning Times, the truck driver and the migrants were taken to the detention area of the checkpoint at 6:49 p.m., and the driver was searched at 6:52 p.m. During the search, an agent removed the drawstring on the driver’s pants and jacket, explaining it was for his safety. 

The truck driver was placed in detention cell 103 as the only occupant and requested to call his mother. Agents told the driver that he could possibly call his mother later, but that the call would be monitored. 

Agents then asked the driver about any medical issues, he said he did not have any, and his possessions were inventoried by agents while he watched. The driver was then escorted to the processing section of the checkpoint at 7:21 p.m. and he was fingerprinted before being returned to his cell. 

The truck driver once again requested to speak to his mother at 7:41 p.m. and he was allowed to make a monitored call in the processing area. He then requested that agents call his mother, but he was returned to his cell instead. At 8:29 p.m. he made another monitored call to his mother and was once again returned to his cell. 

At 10:39 p.m. two agents returned to the driver’s cell to serve him with paperwork. 

“The first agent opened the door to the detention cell and observed the driver was unresponsive and suspended inches off the ground by his jacket, which was tied around a privacy partition and wrapped around his neck. The second agent yelled for assistance,” Border Patrol wrote in a statement.

One of the agents then tried to lift the driver up by his arms while the other agents cut the jacket with a knife. The removal of the jacket from the driver’s neck took about 21 seconds. Agents attempted CPR and an external defibrillator from 10:41 p.m. until 11:04 p.m. when medical services arrived. The driver was pronounced dead at the hospital at 11:52 p.m.

“Footage related to this incident was captured on multiple body-worn cameras, however, the video recording system at the Border Patrol checkpoint was not fully functioning at the time of the incident. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility) special agents interviewed the undocumented non-citizens that were apprehended from the semi-truck. The individuals stated that they never spoke to the man and that after they were apprehended, the man was placed in a separate cell,” Border Patrol said in a statement. 

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