The Police NewsFalfurrias, Texas
Body found in impounded tractor-trailer at CBP checkpoint
The death of an undocumented man whose body was found in a tractor-trailer impounded by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents is being investigated as a homicide by the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Urbino "Benny" Martinez said.
Customs and Border protection agents impounded the tractor-trailer at the Falfurrias checkpoint Oct. 3 after discovering an undocumented person in the vehicle’s closet.
Martinez said no further investigation of the tractor-trailer was conducted at the time.
Three days later, agents contacted the sheriff’s office to investigate a suspicious fluid coming from the rear compartment of the impounded tractor-trailer, Martinez said. Sherriff’s office employees discovered Martin Arellano Gomez’s body under the sleeping compartment of the vehicle.
The 27-year-old’s decomposed body was pulled from the box, Martinez said.
The cause of death is being investigated by the Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Martinez said the driver of the tractor-trailer could face a charge of criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter. Martinez said the investigation is being conducted in collaboration with Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Carlos A. Díaz, southwest border branch chief for Customs and Border Protection, declined to provide a statement on the matter. He said ICE Homeland Security Investigations is leading the investigation into the initial detainment.
ICE is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.