Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra shared the results of the rescue operation on Twitter, stating that a concerned citizen had contacted police to report a tractor-trailer arriving at a residence in Weslaco, Texas. Weslaco is located about eight miles north of the U.S. border with Mexico.
The concerned citizen told police they had seen people being unloaded from the trailer, prompting deputies with Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to attend the scene, according to Guerra.
Images shared by Guerra online show dozens of illegal immigrants sitting on the ground outside a residence as law enforcement officers assess the scene.
The sheriff told CNN on Thursday that the illegal aliens are from Central America and had declined medical assistance when they were found. He did not provide further details regarding the condition of the illegal immigrants.
Officials are now investigating the matter as a potential human smuggling incident and special agents with ICE Homeland Security Investigations are involved in the probe, the sheriff said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) confirmed that the large red vehicle used to carry the illegal aliens had appeared in a TikTok video a day earlier that was seeking “someone who can drive an 18-wheeler right now.”
The video offered $70,000 to someone who could drive the truck from McAllen to Houston, according to Fox News, which first reported the video.
Officials with the Public Safety Department confirmed to the publication that the video is authentic and related to the discovery of the 84 illegal immigrants in Hidalgo County on Thursday.
The department said it has seen an uptick in similar videos posted on the Chinese-owned video-hosting service recently.
“That is why we are experiencing an increase in human smuggling events along the border,” Texas DPS spokesperson Christopher Olivarez told Fox News.
“Many individuals from larger metropolitan areas such as Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and even out of state are being recruited as drivers through social media platforms to smuggle illegal immigrants.”
The latest illegal immigrant rescue comes amid an ongoing southern border crisis which critics say has worsened since President Joe Biden stepped into office, in part owing to his failed border policies and decision to roll back on Trump-era measures aimed at deterring illegal entry through the border.
An influx of illegal aliens has prompted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to send the illegal immigrants from the U.S.–Mexico border to various Democrat-run areas of the country, also known as “sanctuary” cities, such as Washington and Chicago.
Texas has bused more than 8,100 illegal immigrants to Washington, D.C. since April, over 2,900 illegal immigrants to New York City since Aug. 5, and more than 870 illegal immigrants to Chicago since Aug. 31, according to Abbott’s office.
Abbott said this has provided “much-needed relief to our overwhelmed border communities,” but Democrats opposed to the move have accused him of “human trafficking” the illegal immigrants.