A traffic stop along Interstate 85 in Anderson County late Monday that led to an investigation by federal authorities is tied to possible human smuggling, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed to the Independent Mail on Tuesday.
What began as routine traffic stop for a pickup truck that wasn’t staying in its lane near rural Townville quickly turned into something larger, local authorities said.
“ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations received a call from local law enforcement regarding possible human smuggling activity,” Carissa Cutrell, a spokeswoman from ICE, said in an email.
ICE defines human smuggling as “the importation of people into a country via the deliberate evasion of immigration laws.”
According to the federal agency’s website, human smuggling “includes bringing illegal aliens into a country, as well as the unlawful transportation and harboring of aliens already in a country illegally.”
Cutrell said three passengers in the vehicle were being driven from Texas to Virginia. The driver was released, and two other passengers in the vehicle were taken to a bus station to continue their trip, Cutrell said.
One passenger in the truck was arrested and charged with illegal re-entry, she said.
The identity of the person arrested and the identities of the other people in the vehicle have not yet been made public.
Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride said in text messages Monday night and again in an interview Tuesday that a pickup truck had been stopped along I-85, but he said he could not discuss what was found because the case has been turned over to federal authorities. He said the stop was not related to illegal drugs.
“We made a traffic stop, and the persons that were stopped were of interest to the feds,” McBride said in a text message. “Stop was turned over to them.”
Nikki Carson, a spokeswoman for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday that the traffic stop was initiated about 4 p.m. Monday because of a minor traffic violation. The pickup, she said, was swerving and failing to stay in its lane on the interstate.
McBride said Tuesday that the deputy who stopped the truck is an experienced officer who worked at the state level of law enforcement before joining the Sheriff’s Office in 2017. He was on routine patrol along I-85, McBride said, when he noticed that a truck was moving in and out of lanes “like the driver wasn’t paying attention or had his mind on something else.”
“The deputy is a proactive officer, and he stopped the vehicle,” McBride said. “It quickly became apparent that this was not a routine stop.”
When the officer checked the identities of the people in the truck, at least one of them was flagged as being a person that authorities at the federal level had an interest in, McBride said.
McBride said he thinks the incident is proof that a team of deputies dedicated to patrolling I-85 could yield tremendous dividends in the region.
“I-85 runs right through our backyard, and it’s a major thoroughfare for a lot of things, including some that are criminal,” he said. “A lot more goes on along I-85 than people can even imagine.”
Anderson, which is halfway between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, has been the site of major crime along I-85 before now.
Last January, an Anderson man who helped operate one of the region’s largest and longest-running drug trafficking rings was sentenced to life in prison.
Antonio Crawley, 40, was part of an operation that trafficked cocaine, crack and marijuana in South Carolina and reached into Georgia, Alabama, Texas and Louisiana, according to federal prosecutors. The drug ring was active from 2003 to 2016, relying in part on Atlanta-based couriers who made frequent trips to Anderson moving drugs along I-85.
Follow Nikie Mayo on Twitter @NikieMayo or email her at [email protected]
- Build Traffic Driving Links Fast at No Cost Using These Easy Tricks
- What to Say During a Traffic Stop
- Big Bucks From Little Website Traffic - Is it Possible?
- Tips For Getting Through a Traffic Stop
- Washington DUI Process From Traffic Stop to First Appearance
- Google Page Rank, Website Traffic, Reciprocal Links - Ugh, the Insanity of Them All!
- How Can I Stop Snoring? - Possible Snoring Treatments and Surgical Treatment
- Driving Traffic to Your Site
- Using Links to Build Website Traffic For Free
- Utilizing Traffic Exchanges For Website Success
- Website Traffic - How to Get it Free Or Cheap
- How to Gain More Traffic Tips & Advice