Federal and local authorities freed multiple people who were found locked inside a travel trailer in San Ygnacio in Zapata County, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

The incident occurred late in the afternoon of Monday, when agents from the Zapata Station followed foot signs from the Rio Grande to a travel trailer parked not far from the border.

Agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers observed that the trailer’s door was locked from the outside with a padlock. Suspecting that people may be trapped inside, agents requested assistance from the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies conducted a welfare check at the mobile residence and confirmed that 11 people were locked inside. Agents determined that all were immigrants who were in the country illegally. None were wearing any personal protective equipment.

“With a noted increase in COVID-19 infections among detainees, the smuggling and housing of large groups of individuals in stash houses and close quarters without PPE not only endangers the people being smuggled, but the safety of our nation,” Border Patrol said in a statement.

To report suspicious activity such as human or drug smuggling, download the “USBP Laredo Sector” app or contact the Laredo Sector Border Patrol toll free at 1-800-343-1994.

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