PHARR, Texas (Border Report) –Most of the vehicles on the auction block Saturday in Starr County were confiscated during migrant bailouts and drug busts along this rural strip of the border, Border Report has learned.
The Starr County Sheriff’s Office is holding a public auction for 20 vehicles, including a 2015 trailer that was used for human smuggling, on Saturday morning in Rio Grande City, Starr County Judge Eloy Vera told Border Report.
“Most of the vehicles were confiscated vehicles in drug and human smuggling cases,” Vera said.
Some were found abandoned, but most were involved in border crimes, he said.
The rural South Texas border county, population 66,000, uses funds received from confiscated vehicles to help augment its budget. Money from Saturday’s auction will go the Starr County’s Sheriff’s Office, he said.
“They use this money to buy equipment for their needs,” Vera said.
Public auctions are held whenever the stock collected gets big enough — which is usually every 4 to 6 weeks, he said. The auctions usually bring in between $10,000 to $30,000, which Vera said can go a long way to helping the sheriff’s office buy new supplies.
The annual budget for 2022-2023 for the Starr County Sheriff’s Office is just over $305,600, according to the signed budget.
Plus, “some of the items are really nice, like the trailer,” Vera said.
This 2015 travel trailer, with a separate bedroom and kitchen, was used in human smuggling and is being auctioned Feb. 11 in Rio Grande City, Texas, by the Starr County Sheriff’s Office. (Photos Courtesy Starr County Sheriff’s Office)
The 2015 trailer has a full kitchen, with stove and microwave, full bathroom with shower and a separate bedroom, according to photos posted on the Starr County Sheriff’s Facebook page. Similar model travel trailers offered online are advertised for over $24,000.
Other vehicles being auctioned — most in good condition — include a four-door 2015 pickup and several other trucks and SUVs ranging from earlier models from the 1990s to mid-2000s. Some have been involved in crashes, which Vera said most likely were bailouts where human smugglers try to outrun law enforcement with vehicles packed with migrants.
About 20 pickup trucks, SUVs and a late-model travel trailer are among the items to be auctioned by the Starr County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 11 in Rio Grande City. (Photos Courtesy Starr County Sheriff’s Office.)
Most border law enforcement agencies in South Texas have had an uptick in valuable vehicles and items confiscated during crimes related to drugs or human smuggling.
Hidalgo County, to the east and a much larger population base of nearly 1 million, also is holding a two-day public auction later this month Feb. 23-24, and some of the items are “court-awarded” from border-related crimes, county officials told Border Report on Friday.