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  • Ali Bradley

TX: Female smugglers are being released-- Cartel adjust accordingly

TX: Human smuggling cases are increasing along the southern border and cartel have once again switched up strategies. In Kinney County, in less than one month, 33 accused smugglers were arrested when compared to 8 in February of 2021. Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe says of the 33 accused smugglers arrested so far this month, 13 have been female. Law enforcement say smugglers are typically men and most are U.S. citizens. Sheriff Coe says the resources to handle the increase in Kinney County are severely lacking-- Namely there isn't a facility to house female accused smugglers.

The sheriff published a memo today, February 23rd saying deputies are busier than ever. The sheriff breaks down numbers when it comes to human smuggling in Kinney County. Sheriff Coe tells me, “The border is in total collapse. Kinney County Sheriff’s Office is under siege by alien smugglers. Not a day goes by that we don’t have a human smuggling case. We can’t keep up. Jail is full, no place to put female smugglers. So far we’ve caught 13 female smugglers and have no jail set up for females.”

Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith tells me female accused smugglers are charged/booked, finger printed etc and released at large with a warrant if they don’t show up for the first court hearing. Smith confirms this is because the facilities to house women aren't available. Smith tells me male accused smugglers are booked in jail to wait for their first hearing. Smith says the majority of smugglers are U.S. citizens.

Meanwhile… Kinney Co. & Texas Department of Public Safety have been arresting for trespassing since the summer. The majority of cases are migrants trying to evade law enforcement and enter the U.S. illegally. Officials tell me women are turned over to border patrol agents due to facility issues. Like men who enter the country illegally, women can turned back to Mexico under Title 42. Officials say the reason women are turned over to BP not put in jail is because the facilities to house women are either lacking or inadequate.

I have reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for copies of the "national advisories" Sheriff Coe alluded to in the above memo.

**This is an ongoing story and will be updated accordingly**

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