An Uber driver was caught transporting undocumented immigrants by Texas authorities earlier on Thursday after he received a ride request to transport clients from one location to another.
Texas Department of Public Safety officers stopped a black jeep SUV for a traffic violation in Mission, Texas, the agency said.
During the roadside interview, the trooper that stopped the car was able to identify the five passengers inside of the car to be undocumented migrants from Mexico, reported Fox News.
The Uber driver, a 22-year-old American citizen, said he had accepted a ride request through the app to pick up a client in a parking lot near the Rio Grande and take them to another parking lot. The evidence seems to indicate that the driver did not know who he was transporting.
According to authorities, human smugglers and transnational criminal organizations have been exploring other options to get more undocumented migrants into the U.S.
“Criminal Smuggling Organizations have been able to expand their criminal enterprise and further exploit illegal immigrants for profit,” Texas DPS said in a statement.
“Human smuggling has increased drastically, and criminals are advancing their smuggling methods involving vehicles, commercial trucks, trains, planes, and ride shares involving Uber. Human smuggling is a multibillion-dollar trade and more profitable than drug smuggling,” the agency added.
Uber published a statement about the incident, claiming that human trafficking and smuggling are “global issues with devastating impacts on communities.”
“Rideshare is not immune to these societal challenges, which is why we continue to do our part to raise awareness through education which can help drivers spot the signs of human trafficking and report it,” a spokesperson said. “Also, drivers can cancel trips if they feel unsafe, and we have a dedicated Public Safety Team ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation.”