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New Mexico border town has become a people smugglers ‘paradise’ with thousands pouring in unchecked

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New Mexico has become a human trafficking hot bed, thanks in part to state laws that force cops to let suspected human smugglers go simply because they won’t pull over, DailyMail.com can reveal. 

The sheriff in the town of Lordsburg described his community as being caught in a perfect storm with its proximity to the Mexican border- just 40 miles north.

The remote region also has limited sources and the few law enforcement officers there have to deal with state laws the sheriff says tie their hands. 

‘You could call it the perfect place to smuggle migrants,’ Hidalgo County Sheriff William Chadborn told DailyMail.com.

The top cop in the small community near the Arizona-New Mexico state line on has seen a huge increase in drug and illegal immigrant smuggling since he took office in 2022. 

Lordsburg is part of the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, which includes all of southern New Mexico and Texas‘ sixth largest city. It’s the third busiest sector in the US— behind San Diego (1) and Tucson (2.)

Border Patrol agents in Las Cruces, New Mexico caught a smuggler in the desert trying to drive around a Border Patrol checkpoint, the feds tweeted May 7. The driver was transporting 22 illegal immigrants

Border Patrol agents in Las Cruces, New Mexico caught a smuggler in the desert trying to drive around a Border Patrol checkpoint, the feds tweeted May 7. The driver was transporting 22 illegal immigrants

Human smuggling in New Mexico have fueled migrant crossings in the El Paso sector to 180,723 from from October to April, according to Border Patrol statistics.

‘Its not something that we’ve normally dealt with,’ he explained.

When US authorities in neighboring Arizona set up check points to stop smugglers, the coyotes- as they’re known in Spanish- will simply drive a few miles east to New Mexico, to drop off their human cargo, Chadborn told DailMail.com. 

‘Last year, we had two incidents where smugglers drove like idiots until they crashed. As soon as you turn the (squad) lights on, they run. If they stop, the doors fly open and the migrants run into the desert.’

State lawmakers passed the Safe Pursuit Act over a decade ago, severely limiting when police in the state could chase a suspect who refused to pulled over for police.  

Officers in this isolated part of the Land of Enchantment hadn’t really needed to chase suspects, until the border crisis exploded in 2021.

Illegal immigrants come in from Mexico into southeast New Mexico to get picked up by smugglers, so the migrants can be transported further into the US to their final destinations. 

Sheriff William Chadborn is the top cop in Hidalgo County, New Mexico

Sheriff William Chadborn is the top cop in Hidalgo County, New Mexico

Border Patrol agents in Las Cruces and Deming, New Mexico, worked with local cops to stop a smuggler, the federal agency tweeted May 20

Border Patrol agents in Las Cruces and Deming, New Mexico, worked with local cops to stop a smuggler, the federal agency tweeted May 20

A group of 14 migrants were taken into custody in the joint New Mexico and Border Patrol operation

A group of 14 migrants were taken into custody in the joint New Mexico and Border Patrol operation

A tractor-trailer involved in the May smuggling incident was seized, the agency said

A tractor-trailer involved in the May smuggling incident was seized, the agency said

Cops will often blatantly see groups of migrants being picked up in the desert on the side of the road, or they will see a vehicle with the telltale signs of human trafficking: a car overloaded with people, driving too fast. 

‘They’re hiring 14, 15 year-old kids to pick up (migrants,) and they don’t know how to drive,’ the sheriff said of the drivers. 

The teens get recruited in Phoenix through social media. 

With the promise of a fast payday for a quick drive to New Mexico, teenagers cross state lines to locations sent to them via encrypted apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp. 

‘A lot of them don’t even have license. When they wreck or do something else, nothing happens to them.

Chadborn added that often federal prosecutors don’t take up criminal cases against underaged smugglers. 

Illegal immigrants who are successfully picked up by their smuggler are taken to a stash house, like these women who were found in Las Cruces in early May by US Border Patrol

Illegal immigrants who are successfully picked up by their smuggler are taken to a stash house, like these women who were found in Las Cruces in early May by US Border Patrol

Stash houses in New Mexico, like the one pictured above, have become very common in the Las Cruces area. Border Patrol says it has found 178 stash houses with 1,729 apprehensions in the El Paso Sector, which Las Cruces is part of

Stash houses in New Mexico, like the one pictured above, have become very common in the Las Cruces area. Border Patrol says it has found 178 stash houses with 1,729 apprehensions in the El Paso Sector, which Las Cruces is part of

Illegal immigrants are kept in dirty and cramped quarters in stash houses in New Mexico, Border Patrol sources tell DailyMail.com

Illegal immigrants are kept in dirty and cramped quarters in stash houses in New Mexico, Border Patrol sources tell DailyMail.com

Even if they do and the minors are convicted, the charges or convictions are often wiped from their record when they reach the legal age of 18. 

But the biggest problem, the sheriff says, if that even when his deputies know a driver has illegal immigrants in the car with them, they only thing they can do is attempt a traffic stop and hope the driver complies.

If the driver speeds off, the cops just let them get away. 

‘Now they all run. We’re handcuffed by New Mexico law— which does not allow for pursuits,’ he said. 

The Safe Pursuit Act was passed with the intention of virtually eliminating high speed chases between police and criminal suspects that often result in deadly wrecks of the people involved, and in the worst case scenarios, of innocent bystanders.

In Texas, a grandmother and her 7-year-old granddaughter were killed in the town of Ozona as they were headed to buy ice cream one March 2023 afternoon.

71-year-old Maria Tambunga and 7-year-old Emilia Tambunga died March 13, 2023 in a crash that involved a human smuggler evading arrest, authorities said

71-year-old Maria Tambunga and 7-year-old Emilia Tambunga died March 13, 2023 in a crash that involved a human smuggler evading arrest, authorities said

The impact of the crash with the smuggler left the grandmother and granddaughter unrecognizable, their loved ones described. They were sitting at a red light at an intersection in the granny's red truck when the smuggler plowed into them

The impact of the crash with the smuggler left the grandmother and granddaughter unrecognizable, their loved ones described. They were sitting at a red light at an intersection in the granny’s red truck when the smuggler plowed into them

A smuggler carrying illegal immigrants in his truck filmed himself driving over 100 miles per hour while being chases by Texas cops– who are allowed to pursue drivers suspected of transporting illegal immigrants. 

Doing so is federal crime. The Lone Star State has also made it a state crime to transport migrants who crossed the border without authorization. 

In New Mexico, it’s not a state crime.

Cops in that state can only give chase with few exceptions, if a person’s life is in imminent danger or if the driver is believed to be driver under the influence.

Hidalgo County Sheriff William Chadborn was elected to his post in 2022. He serves the community in and around Lordsburg, New Mexico.

Hidalgo County Sheriff William Chadborn was elected to his post in 2022. He serves the community in and around Lordsburg, New Mexico.

New Mexico officers have also been stripped of qualified immunity, a legal protection cops have in most states to protect them from criminal charges or lawsuits. 

Chadborn’s department is currently dealing with two lawsuits: one for a smuggling case where they did give chase, and second smuggling case where they did not pursue the driver.  

But as migrants and dangerous drugs like fentanyl are increasingly smuggled into the country through the town, Chadborn is increasingly concerned one of his residents will be hurt or killed. 

‘One had one incident where one smuggler wrecked and hit another driver head on and he had a bunch of fentanyl in the car,’ he recalled.

‘It’s hard to serve the people that elected you.’

With limited options, Chadborn says they do what little they legally can to stop smugglers: set out tire spike strips or call Arizona authorities and let them know a carload is headed their way. 

The migrants headed to New Mexico are not the asylum-seekers who cross the international boundary and immediately look for Border Patrol agents to surrender to. 

They’re migrants are from countries that do not qualify for asylum, like Mexico, or are migrants from around the globe who might have criminal records.

These border jumpers hope to evade US authorities all together. 

Just this week, the head of the Border Patrol tweeted about so-called ‘special interest migrants’ from Morocco who entered the country through Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

Six 'special interest migrants' from Morocco were stopped from coming into the country in New Mexico this week, the chief of the Border Patrol revealed this week

Six ‘special interest migrants’ from Morocco were stopped from coming into the country in New Mexico this week, the chief of the Border Patrol revealed this week

A Mexican man wanted for murder and with a long rap sheet was caught trying to sneak into New Mexico in March. 'This is what’s known as an aggravated felon. He does not belong in the U.S., let alone in your communities,' Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens said

A Mexican man wanted for murder and with a long rap sheet was caught trying to sneak into New Mexico in March. ‘This is what’s known as an aggravated felon. He does not belong in the U.S., let alone in your communities,’ Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens said

Special interest migrants or aliens is foreigner who could pose a national security risk to the United States, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

‘The ones we are seeing here are the ones we really need to be watching for,’ the sheriff stated.

He described the harsh trek migrants would need to make to get to Lordsburg on foot– a grueling 40 to 60 miles through the unforgiving desert that could take several days.

‘They’re pretty desperate to not be know, to not be seen. That tells me that that’s the ones we don’t want here,’ Chadborn explained.

In New Mexico, the Border Patrol has also caught several other illegal immigrants with serious criminals records, including gang members and murder suspects.

(‘US Border Patrol) agents in Deming, NM arrested a Mexican national (with) prior convictions for 1st Degree Murder, Battery, Stalking, & Probation Violations,’ Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens posted to social media in March. 

‘This is what’s known as an aggravated felon. He does not belong in the U.S., let alone in your communities.’



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