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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  2. News Room
  3. Fatal Incident Highlights Dangers of Human Smuggling

Fatal Incident Highlights Dangers of Human Smuggling

Release Date: June 26, 2024

FERNDALE, Wash. — Authorities are investigating a tragic incident involving the death of a noncitizen near the U.S.-Canada border suspected to be linked to human smuggling.

On June 20, the lifeless body of an adult male was discovered close to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks in Ferndale. The investigation, led by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), aims to ascertain if the death is connected to an illegal human smuggling operation.

In recent months, there has been an alarming rise in human smuggling attempts along the train line from Vancouver, British Columbia, into northern Washington State. This incident underscores the perilous risks individuals face when resorting to such dangerous methods of transportation.

"The death in Ferndale is a tragic reminder of the dangers associated with human smuggling," said Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in the Pacific Northwest. "These illicit activities not only jeopardize the lives of those being smuggled but also pose significant risks to our communities."

“This avoidable death highlights the complete disregard that transnational smuggling organizations have for human life as they prioritize profit above anything else,” said Rosario Vasquez, Chief Patrol Agent for the USBP’s Blaine Sector. “We will continue to work with all our partners to safeguard America and bring to justice those violating our laws.”

“This tragic event shows how extremely dangerous being smuggled on trains can be,” said Brian Humphrey, CBP’s director of field operations in Seattle. “This situation could have been prevented. CBP’s Office of Field Operations is committed to stopping the criminal organizations that prey on immigrants and put them in danger.”

Authorities urge anyone with information related to this incident or other instances of human smuggling to contact the HSI Tip Line at 877-4-HSI-TIP. Every piece of information, no matter how small, can assist in preventing future tragedies.

Last Updated: 07/05/2024
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