TUCSON, Ariz. – Agents assigned to the Nogales Border Patrol Station working at the Interstate 19 checkpoint thwarted two smuggling attempts 45 minutes apart last night, which lead to the arrest of seven undocumented aliens hidden in car trunks.
At 5:45 p.m., agents referred a white four-door sedan for a secondary inspection. Agents discovered three individuals concealed in the trunk after the driver consented to a vehicle search. The subjects, all identified as Mexican nationals including a 16-year-old juvenile, were taken into custody. The driver, a United States citizen, was arrested and is pending criminal charges.
Agents referred a white Pontiac sedan for a secondary inspection less than an hour later. A search of the vehicle revealed four undocumented aliens from Guatemala, including two under the age of 14, hiding in the trunk. The subjects were taken into custody and the driver of the vehicle was arrested.
Both vehicles did not have emergency releases inside their trunks and lacked ventilation. The inside temperature of closed trunks can get in excess of 125 degrees Fahrenheit with temperatures reaching triple digits during Arizona’s summer months.
Chief Patrol Agent Paul Beeson said Tucson Sector has more than 230 EMTs who are trained to provide lifesaving treatment, and agents are well aware of the risks due to heat related illnesses.
“This is another example of the callous disregard for life indicative of criminal organizations,” he said. “If not for the actions of these Border Patrol agents, seven people including three children could have easily lost their lives at the hands of unscrupulous smugglers.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.