Texas police chased a 2003 Ford Explorer for traffic violation. The vehicle flipped several times. The incident resulted to the deaths of five immigrants apparently being smuggled into the U.S. by a human smuggling syndicate, The Associated Press has learned.
According to AP, the Explorer is carrying 15 passengers. Three of them were members of a smuggling syndicate and 13 were being transported inside U.S. illegally.
Five of those who were killed in the accident were immigrants from Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, AP reported. The Explorer was being driven by a U.S. citizen who also died in the accident. The man is suspected as one of the members of the smuggling ring.
Two other immigrants were being treated at a nearby hospital while another is in a critical condition. The other immigrants are now in custody of U.S. Border Patrol Agents. Three of the passengers who tried to run from the police are now being detained.
On Thursday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced more than $44 million in grant funding to combat human trafficking. Recipients of funding include 16 anti-human trafficking task forces and service organizations. “Human traffickers prey on some of the most vulnerable members of our society, and their crimes – which are nothing short of modern-day slavery – have no place in this country,” Attorney General Lynch said in a statement. The fund produced will be used to provide services for survivors and to extend research going forward, she added.