In just two days, authorities have nabbed two vans packed with illegal immigrants on Interstate 70. Human trafficking is becoming just as popular as drug smuggling, but the Colorado State Patrol will soon have new tools to combat the problem.
Interstate 70 has become a main artery for human trafficking. On Tuesday troopers noticed a seven passenger van packed so tight with people that it was barely off the ground. When they pulled the van over they found 14 illegal immigrants inside. On Sunday another seven illegal immigrants were nabbed.
Troopers says it's dangerous to pack so many people into a van. It puts pressure on the suspension and leads to many accidents. Back in November four people were killed when a minivan stuffed with illegal immigrants crashed on I–70 near Idaho Springs. Ten others were also injured.
In Colorado human trafficking is a class three felony, but that's still not stopping the smugglers. Troopers say it's just as prevalent as drug smuggling and works in the same fashion.
Trooper Jeff Lytle and Trooper Michael Jamison have more than 20 years of experience with the Colorado State Patrol. They say smuggling is on the increase and that's why they volunteered to be a part of the State Patrol's new Immigrations Unit.
The Immigrations Unit is supposed to be up and running by July 1st. Later this month Lytle and Jamison will head to Denver for five weeks of training with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
The troopers will still patrol as usual, but after training will have more authority and know–how on to assist ICE. Both Lytle and Jamison hope to make an impact on human trafficking.