19:53 GMT +313 December 2019
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    ‘Human Smuggling'? Routine US Traffic Stop Suddenly Handed to Homeland Security

    © AFP 2019 / SAUL LOEB
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    A routine traffic stop probe by deputies from South Carolina's Anderson County Sheriff's Office recently saw officials from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) swoop down and take over the investigation.

    Federal agents were called into the matter after responding deputies suspected "possible human smuggling activity" was taking place after they spoke with the three passengers riding inside a pickup truck, according to the Anderson Independent Mail.

    The traffic stop took place near mile marker 11 on Interstate 85 near Anderson County's unincorporated community of Townville.

    Carissa Cutrell, a spokesperson for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which operates under the jurisdiction of DHS, told the publication Tuesday that the passengers were being driven from Texas to Virginia and that one traveler was arrested and charged with illegal re-entry.

    The two others were taken to a nearby bus station so that they could continue their journey to the Old Dominion state. The identities of the three individuals have not been disclosed.

    The truck reportedly caught the attention of law enforcement officials around 4 p.m. local time on Monday after deputies witnessed the driver failing to maintain their lane, the Independent reported.

    Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride previously spoke on the incident late Monday, telling the Mail that federal agents became involved after a few red flags were raised as deputies approached the vehicle.

    "We made a traffic stop, and the persons that were stopped were of interest to the feds," McBride told the outlet. "Stop was turned over to them."

    Although McBride later indicated that he was unable to discuss the investigation in detail since it had been turned over to federal agents, the sheriff did note that the stop wasn't related to illegal drugs.

    The arrestee was reportedly scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday morning, local news station Fox Carolina reported.


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