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Human-Trafficking Scheme Leaves 10 Migrants Dead, Dozens More Hospitalized

Twitter/@CHTCS_intel @ksatnews

Early Sunday morning, around midnight, a Walmart employee in San Antonio, Texas called 911 because several people in the parking lot of the store needed help. When police showed up, eight people were found dead inside a semi trailer truck. As of Monday morning, two more people died, The New York Times reports. Police say the victims were undocumented immigrants who were being smuggled across the border.

For his involvement in human trafficking, the driver of the truck has been arrested and could be facing the death penalty or life in prison. But the driver, 60-year-old James M. Bradley Jr., claims he had no idea what he was hauling in the first place.

Bradley told police officers that he was simply hired to be a driver and was supposed to drop off the contents at a pre-determined destination.

Aside from those that were found dead in the truck, police found another 29 people. Several immigrants are in critical condition, with many of them suffering from dehydration and heat exposure. Temperatures in San Antonio this month have reached over 100 degrees.

The driver told police that when he initially opened the door to the truck (after he heard banging coming from the back), roughly 30 to 40 people that were inside fled the scene. The undocumented immigrants interviewed by police said that many more people had been loaded into the truck at various spots near around Laredo, Texas. At one point, as many as 200 people were inside the truck.

As of now, Bradley is the only person charged for this horrendous crime, but officials say more arrests will be made.

Police Chief William McManus and Fire Chief Charles Hood briefing on tractor trailer found with multiple deceased after being smuggled inside. 8538 IH35S

Posted by San Antonio Police Department on Sunday, July 23, 2017

Credit: San Antonio Police Department / Facebook

“Checking the video from the store, we found there were a number of vehicles that came in and picked up a lot of the folks that were in that trailer that survived the trip,” Police Chief William McManus said, according to CNN. “The driver and whoever else we find is involved in this will be facing state and federal charges.”

Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said that the human smugglers had to pack the truck with hundreds in order to “maximize their criminal profits.”

“Human smugglers have repeatedly demonstrated that they have absolutely no regard for human life,” Homan said in a press release. “Our ICE agents and officers, working closely with our law enforcement partners, will pursue these smugglers and bring them to justice.”

Richard L. Durbin, Jr. U.S Attorney for the Western District of Texas, released a statement calling the human-traffickers “ruthless.”

“The South Texas heat is punishing this time of year. These people were helpless in the hands of their transporters. Imagine their suffering, trapped in a stifling trailer in 100-plus degree heat. The driver is in custody and will be charged. We will work with the Homeland Security Investigations and the local responders to identify those who were responsible for this tragedy.”

Polaris, a non-profit that works to curb human trafficking, reports that in 2016, cases of human trafficking increased by 35%.

In Texas alone, out of 300,000 victims of human trafficking, almost 80,000 of them are minors.

READ: The Innocent Behind Bars: Mexico Possible PR Mess

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An Elotero Had His Cart Thrown To Ground And He Got It All On Video

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An Elotero Had His Cart Thrown To Ground And He Got It All On Video

Facebook/March And Rally Los Angeles

On July 17, Benjamin Ramirez, an elote street vendor in Los Angeles, was threatened and had his food cart damaged by a man later identified as Carlos A. Hakas. Ramirez told Fox 11 Los Angeles that he filmed the entire altercation on his phone because he was previously harassed by Hakas.

In their latest confrontation, Ramirez, 24, told Fox 11 that Hakas was behaving more aggressively, had a dog, and was holding something in his hand.

In Ramirez’s video that was posted yesterday — it has since gone viral — you can hear the Hakas telling Ramirez in Spanish to move his cart. Ramirez says to him, “you have a walkway, I am not moving.”

Los Angeles!Look at these scumbags!We live in a diverse city, we dont need shitty people like this!Event link:https://www.facebook.com/events/213123635881170/?ti=clDonation link: https://www.gofundme.com/equipment-for-la-street-vendors

Posted by March And Rally Los Angeles on Monday, July 24, 2017

Credit: March And Rally Los Angeles / Facebook

The man continues to threaten Ramirez, and when he refuses to move his cart, the man pushes it over.

The woman in the video tells Ramirez to “stay the fuck away,” however, throughout the entire video, Ramirez is never near them. He firmly stands his ground and says he is not leaving from that street corner. After Hakas throws the cart down, Ramirez throws chile onto Hakas’ face. When Ramirez calls Hakas a racist, Hakas replies, “I’m not racist, I’m from Argentina.”

“Even after he threw my cart on the ground, he came after me, like he wanted me to attack him,” Ramirez told Fox 11 News.

People on social media were able to ID the assailant. He is from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Credit: Facebook

As soon as the video went live on Facebook, people on social media searched to identify the attacker. Fans of cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, who posted the video of Ramirez getting threatened, flooded his thread and posted several of Hakas social media accounts, from LinkedIn to Instagram. Those accounts have since been deactivated. They also ID’d the woman in the video, Hakas partner as Holly Covella.

Posted by Daniel Gonzalez on Monday, July 24, 2017

Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz posted this cartoon about this fateful encounter.

Journalist Aura Bogado posted a heartbreaking interview with Ramirez’s father, Alex.

https://www.facebook.com/aura.bogado/videos/10156445572828626/

Credit: Aura Bogado / Facebook

Alex told Bogado that he felt bad about what happened, especially when he saw his son’s food all over the street. He also said that they had to throw everything away. The only thing that remains is the cart itself, and that is severely damaged as well.

According to Bogado, Ramirez has been a street vendor since 2000 and nothing like this has ever happened to him.

He also added that his son had only been on that street corner (Romaine Street in Hollywood, Calif.) for a couple of weeks.

In the video, Alex told Bogado that the police were called but that they didn’t arrest Hakas because he spoke English and said that Ramirez was at fault.

According to NBC News, Hakas and Ramirez are expected to appear at a court date later this week. The police told NBC News that this is a civil case and that if Hakas fails to appear in court, they will issue a warrant for his arrest.

I just want justice,” Ramirez told Fox 11 News. “I just want him to pay for the loss of my products when he came to attack me.”

Supporters of Ramirez have set up a GoFundme fundraiser to help him restore his food cart.

CREDIT: GoFundme

Casey Horan, donated $10, and wrote: “My heart is absolutely shattered at the hatefulness of that evil man. Sending all my love and positivity to you Benjamin <3.” Anna Armendariz, contributed $20, wrote: “So sad about this new wave of hatred and racism that awoke after last years election. The worst part is that it was from one of our own Latino members.”

Update: AFM Local 47, a musicians’ union that counts Hakas as one of its members, released this statement about the incident:

“AFM Local 47 has been made aware of a recent incident involving one of our employees. This is now a police matter and we cannot comment on the ongoing investigation, nor can we comment on personnel matters.

As a labor union we believe in immigrant and workers’ rights and stand for dignity and respect for all workers in our community.”

READ: After Video Goes Viral, People Are Wondering About Identity Of Boy And Mother In Heartbreaking Viral Video

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