Officers from the Department of Public Safety's Vehicle Theft Task Force apprehended 18 people crammed into two pickup trucks early this morning. The 18 people taken into custody are suspected of being illegal immigrants.
About 5:15 a.m. today, DPS officers conducted a routine traffic stop on two vehicles they say were following too closely on westbound I-10 at Riggs Road. One of the vehicles stopped, while the other fled into a nearby field.
When officers stopped the pickups, they suspected both of the vehicles to be stolen and connected to smuggling activity. They were right.
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Inside the truck that stopped, officers found 12 illegal immigrants, including a 9-year-old girl.
The truck that tried to evade officers was found abandoned near McQueen and Gantzel roads. Cops located six illegal immigrants near the truck and took them into custody.
Those detained told officers they'd been in the desert for three days, and they were dehydrated. DPS officers provided the immigrants with water and other supplies.
The case has been handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who are now questioning the immigrants and the drivers.