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Rash of truck thefts linked to human trafficking

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A large increase in truck thefts in north Liberty County since December 2018 and the recovery of seven of those trucks within the county has led Liberty County Sheriff’s Investigators to the conclusion that these pick-up trucks have been used for human trafficking and other types of smuggling activity.

According to lead Investigator Travis Pierce many of these truck which are registered to out of state owners who are working in Texas and had their trucks stolen as well as to several Texas registered truck owners.

Pierce said the recovered trucks were all big engine and high profile trucks that could travel in areas where normal law enforcement vehicles cannot. When stolen, most trucks had the keys left in the unlocked vehicles and most were white in color to better blend in with normal south Texas style pick-up work trucks.

Later, when recovered, the rear windows were totally blacked out and all rear seats and interior paneling had been removed, which provided enough room to carry from eight to ten people. Food wrappings were found littered in the rear of these trucks indicating they had been used to carry people.

Several weeks ago, the Sheriff’s Office linked 10 of these stolen vehicles to a small group of individuals from the Houston area and charged them with organized criminal activity. All were recently indicted.

It appears the pick-up trucks stolen in Liberty County as well as other jurisdictions in south Texas are being used for organized criminal activity such as smuggling contraband and  human trafficking. The investigation is on-going and will continue by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the other jurisdictions who are experiencing similar thefts of pick-up trucks.

Investigator Pierce is asking for anyone having information on the person or persons involved in this criminal activity to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 936-336-4500 or call the Multi-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-392-STOP (7867). All callers to Crime Stoppers will remain anonymous.

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