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Texas authorities stop Uber driver smuggling several alleged illegal immigrants

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Texas law enforcement announced this week that they caught an Uber driver who was allegedly taking part in human trafficking. This comes as law enforcement continue to attempt to stop illegal immigrants crossing into the United States.

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) state that the incident occurred on Thursday when a DPS trooper stopped a black Jeep SUV for a traffic violation in Mission, Texas.

As the driver was being interviewed, the officer had reason to believe that that the five passengers in the back seat and cargo area were illegal immigrants. 

The 22-year-old Uber driver, who is an American citizen, said he accepted a ride to pick up a passenger in a parking lot close to the Rio Grande and then drop them off at another parking lot.

Authorities said that smuggling gangs have been getting more creative as they attempt to smuggle more people in to the United States.

“Criminal Smuggling Organizations have been able to expand their criminal enterprise and further exploit illegal immigrants for profit,” Texas DPS said in a statement. “Human smuggling has increased drastically, and criminals are advancing their smuggling methods involving vehicles, commercial trucks, trains, planes, and ride shares involving Uber. Human smuggling is a multibillion-dollar trade and more profitable than drug smuggling.”

Uber released a statement saying that human trafficking and smuggling are “global issues with devastating impacts on communities.” 

“Rideshare is not immune to these societal challenges, which is why we continue to do our part to raise awareness through education which can help drivers spot the signs of human trafficking and report it,” a spokesperson said. “Also, drivers can cancel trips if they feel unsafe, and we have a dedicated Public Safety Team ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation.”

Uber also said they have a public safety team in place which includes several ex-law enforcement officers and attorneys a to assist law enforcement with their investigations. Uber said their global investigations team includes those on the books of the FBI and other government agencies.

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