Six suspected undocumented immigrants were killed and seven injured back in June, when an SUV that was being chased by police crashed near Robstown. Investigators say they were being trafficked to Houston.
That tragedy led to a crackdown on area roads used by human traffickers and drug smugglers. The roads are known to area law enforcement as the "poison pipeline." It runs from the Mexican border to Houston, and a large part of it runs through our area.
Operation Poison Pipeline ran through more than 25 miles of road in Nueces County, including Texas Hwy. 44.
"On Sept. 11 and 12, we coordinated with (the U.S.) Border Patrol, with the criminal interdiction unit out of Robstown and with the Corpus Christi Police Department," said Nueces County Sheriff John C. Hooper.
The operation led to four arrests, including 23-year-old Humberto Salazar and 21-year-old Xiomara Salazar. The brother-and-sister duo were heading south when they were arrested for money laundering: $318,000 was found in their car.
"The fact is that that kind of activity and human trafficking, and drug trafficking, occurs almost every day," Hooper said.
The seized money, believed to have come from drug cartels, will hopefully be used to help fund more operations like this.
"We own that pipeline," Hooper said. "Drug cartels are attempting to own that pipeline."