YUMA, Ariz. – Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents apprehended five U.S. citizens smuggling 12 migrants in four different vehicle stops over the weekend.
At approximately 5 a.m. on Friday, agents from the Wellton Station stopped a Chevrolet Suburban traveling eastbound on Interstate 8 near Dateland, Arizona. The driver, a 36-year-old U.S. citizen from Yuma, was smuggling six migrants, who were found hiding on the backseat and in the rear cargo area.
Later that morning, agents pulled over an eastbound Mitsubishi Outlander rental car on Interstate 8 just east of Wellton. Agents determined that the driver, a 27-year-old male U.S. citizen from California, was smuggling two migrants.
At 11 a.m. Sunday, Wellton agents stopped a Ford Fusion that was also traveling eastbound on Interstate 8 near Dateland. During the stop, agents determined that two 16-year-old U.S. citizens from California were smuggling a migrant further into the interior of the county. The migrant was still wearing booties on his feet when agents stopped the vehicle. Migrants wear carpet booties over their shoes to prevent leaving their shoe prints behind in the sand and hide their tracks from agents.
On Monday morning, agents assigned to the Blythe station conducted a vehicle stop on a Ford Explorer near Lovekin Boulevard and Rice Street in Blythe. Agents discovered a 19-year-old male U.S. citizen from California smuggling three migrants.
Except for the two juveniles, who were turned over to Child Protective Services, agents arrested the drivers in these incidents for smuggling. The migrants were also arrested and will be returned to Mexico under Title 42.