El Centro Sector border patrol sees spike in tractor-trailer smuggling trend from Mexico to U.S.

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U.S. Border Patol Agents
U.S. Border Patol Agents

SALTON CITY, Calif. – U.S. Border Patrol agents with the El Centro Sector have issued a notice to the public about smugglers attempting to use tractor-trailers to transport immigrants across the border.

On March 20, agents reported that they stopped the fourth attempt of this type over the last four months. The incident occurred about 11:30 p.m. as agents conducted surveillance on a white 2012 International Prostar tractor-trailer traveling northbound on Highway 86. Subsequently, agents followed the tractor-trailer as it approached the Border Patrol’s immigration checkpoint on Highway 86.

During inspection, while Border Patrol agents conducted an immigration check on the driver, a Border Patrol canine detection team drew the agents’ attention to the cab of the truck. Agents referred the tractor-trailer aside for further inspection.

While in the secondary inspection area, agents reported, three people exited the truck cab and attempted to leave the area. Agents detained the three subjects, two adult males and one unaccompanied female juvenile, who were determined to be undocumented immigrants.

The male driver, a 36-year-old Mexican national, and the three undocumented immigrants from Mexico were placed under arrest. All four subjects were repatriated to their country of origin.

“The increase in tractor-trailer smuggling continues to illustrate the total disregard that smuggling organizations have for the well-being of the people they are smuggling,” said Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino. “Our agents will continue to work tirelessly in protecting the safety and security of all human life.”

In March, El Centro Sector agents discovered 42 smuggled immigrants packed inside a utility trailer near the border in Calexico, California. Similar events took place in January and February. Since January 1, El Centro Sector agents have removed 86 undocumented immigrants from potentially life-threatening human-smuggling situations.

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