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Video: Cops save woman stuffed in duffle bag from burning SUV

An alleged human smugglers vehicle burns (Texas DPS/Screenshot)
April 05, 2022

Law enforcement officers in Texas last week saved the life of a woman stuffed in a duffle bag when they dragged her from a burning vehicle. The intense ordeal was captured on officers’ body cameras.

The Texas Department of Public Safety – South Texas Region tweeted on Wednesday, “MUST WATCH: @TxDPS assisted #USBP with a vehicle pursuit that ended with the vehicle crashing & igniting on fire. The smuggler fled leaving behind a female immigrant trapped inside the vehicle.  @TxDPSSouth Sgt Genaro Hinojosa sprung into action and broke the rear window.”

“A duffle bag was removed from inside the vehicle containing a female immigrant concealed inside a duffle bag. @TxDPS continues to combat human smugglers who choose profit over public safety. Great example of teamwork among our partners – USBP & Encinal PD🧵2/2 #OperationLoneStar,” the department wrote in a second tweet that included an image of the illegal immigrant.

According to the New York Post, the incident took place on March 24 when the alleged smuggler, identified as David Padilla Jr., 29, attempted to flee an immigration checkpoint after a K-9 detected something in his vehicle.  

Agents deployed spike strips to stop Padilla’s escape, causing the suspected smuggler to crash into a barrier on Interstate 35.

Padilla attempted to flee on foot, but was quickly apprehended. After seeing his car was on fire, he reportedly said, “She is in the back. Get her out of there. Did they get her out?”

Padilla was charged with transporting, attempting to transport, and conspiring to transport an illegal immigrant.

“Smugglers continue to expose those they are smuggling to dangerous and life-threatening conditions,” the Texas Department of Public Safety said following the incident.

The Texas DPS said the ordeal was handled as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, a mission launched in March 2021 to respond to skyrocketing illegal immigration.

Last year, Abbott issues a disaster declaration that cover 48 counties primarily along the southern border. The order directed the Department of Public Safety to “use available resources to enforce all applicable federal and state laws to prevent the criminal activity along the border, including criminal trespassing, smuggling, and human trafficking, and to assist Texas counties in their efforts to address those criminal activities,” according to Texas.gov.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is preparing for a massive influx of up to 500,000 illegal immigrants monthly once the administration lifts the pandemic-era asylum limits, which is expected to take place on May 23. In FY21, Biden’s DHS topped 1.73 million illegal immigrant arrests, breaking the previous record from 1986 when officials recorded 1.69 million apprehensions nationwide.