UPDATE: Quick Action Saves Dozens of Lives in Train Rescue Operation

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The quick response of Kinney County Sheriff’s Deputies outside Spofford Railyard is believed to have saved the lives of approximately 100 to 150 foreign nationals who were in the country illegally.

The deputies received a call from Union Pacific Dispatchers after a train conductor informed them that there were unauthorized passengers on board the train. Upon arrival, the deputies used binoculars to observe 12 to 15 individuals lying flat on the first “gondola” or “grain-hopper” train car behind the second engine as it moved slowly towards the railyard. The deputies began to apprehend this group when one of them informed the authorities that there were more individuals inside some of the gondolas.

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Gondolas are specialized units that facilitate the mass transport of grain and other freight and open from the top and bottom. The travelers stated that there were over 100 people aboard the train scattered throughout the gondolas. Chief Deputy Armando M. Garcia stated that if they had gone all the way to Uvalde in those gondolas, they would have died due to high temperatures and the threat to life and limb involved in these kinds of situations.

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As the Chief Deputy and other deputies began to inspect the interior of the gondolas, suspected migrants began jumping out and fleeing into the brush. Backup was called, including Emergency Medical Services, due to the extreme temperatures and the likelihood of casualties inside the train cars. Only minor injuries were reported, and one migrant fainted while exiting the train but was caught by law enforcement officers before hitting the ground.

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It is uncertain how many individuals managed to escape, but Chief Deputy Garcia estimated at least a hundred. Border Patrol is still searching for those who fled into the brush, preventing an accurate count of arrests. However, approximately 86 to 90 others were taken into custody at the railyard and were turned over to Border Patrol for identification. The Sheriff’s Office will be pressing charges for Criminal Trespassing on Railroad property against all those apprehended.

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