U.S. Customs and Border Protection said yesterday that Border Patrol agents on Monday found “37 illegal immigrants” in a house in southern Texas that featured a shrine to “La Santa Muerte” or the “goddess of death.”
“Border Patrol agents along with Texas Department of Public Safety troopers conducted a traffic stop on a known smuggler which led to the discovery of the stash house,” CBP said in a release published on Wednesday. “After obtaining consent to search the residence, agents found 37 individuals inside. Among them were three juveniles from Mexico and Honduras. All subjects were transported to the McAllen Border Patrol Station and were processed accordingly.
The house where the illegal immigrants were found “was adorned with a shrine to the folk saint La Santa Muerte, known as ‘the goddess of death,’ which is also known to be associated with the drug trade and the narco-culture,” said the CBP release.
“These immigrants are essentially held for ransom,” Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla Jr., said. “And, these smugglers are putting these migrants in harm’s way in the middle of our residential neighborhoods.