SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — 16 Mexican nationals were found packed under a load of lumber Monday morning.

Atascosa County Constable Precinct 3 Chief Deputy Phillip Bozquez tells KTSA the discovery was made on Route 16, just outside of Jourdanton.

“Deputy Marissa Valdez stopped a truck hauling a trailer with lumber. Something didn’t seem right so she started asking the driver some questions. She got permission to search the vehicle.”

The Deputy called for back up and while they were searching the load of lumber, they heard cries for help coming from under the wood.

“They cut the strap that was holding the load in place. After taking some of the boards off they noticed a tarp, under the tarp we found 16 Mexican nationals. 14 men, two women. They were all piled on top of each other.”

Atascosa County Precinct 3 Facebook photo

Bosquez says the temperature was already close to 90 degrees when the discovery was made.

“It was basically an oven. The men were all treated at the scene by EMS. We got them some cool water and food. The two women were brought to the hospital with heat related issues.”

Atascosa County Precinct 3 Facebook photo


Bosquez says it’s a situation that could have been a lot worse.

“In spite of the political climate, we’re talking about 16 lives that were saved. We don’t know how far they were going. Some claimed they were going to San Antonio. Others said they were going to Houston. With the temperature and humidity being so high today, this could have been tragic.”

The Mexican nationals are being held until Federal Immigration Officials pick them up.

The driver, a man form the Laredo area, is still behind bars. His name wasn’t released but he could be up against federal smuggling charges.

Bosquez credits Deputy Valdez for following her hunch saying her actions potentially saved several lives.

More about: