Nine occupants of a vehicle stopped late Tuesday night on Interstate 59 in DeKalb County, Alabama, were in the country illegally and are being detained, a news release from the DeKalb County sheriff states.
Sheriff Nick Welden said a patrol sergeant and a K9 deputy conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle from Texas at around 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Officials determined the trip was a human smuggling operation. Investigators with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were called, and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainers placed on the subjects. Federal charges are pending, the sheriff said.
"This is a great arrest on I-59," Welden said. "Due to the highways and interstates intersecting our county, it's highly likely that human trafficking as well as illegal narcotics regularly move through."
He said DeKalb law enforcement personnel can "do our part as a department and help curb this illegal activity. Proactive law enforcement can not only build a better county, but also help clean up our country. I'd like to commend these deputies on their dedication to this."