SAN DIEGO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa port of entry Sunday helped free a man they found, hidden in a compartment specially built under the backseat of a pickup truck.
“CBP officers at our nation’s borders must remain vigilant,” said Pete Flores, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego. “This case serves as a reminder of the numerous attempts to enter the U.S. illegally that are stopped daily by CBP officers at our local border crossings.”
At about 3 a.m. on April 26, a woman driving a white 1998 Dodge pickup truck drove up to the Otay Mesa passenger port of entry. The woman, a 48-year-old U.S. citizen, presented the CBP officer her U.S. passport.
The CBP officer performed a cursory inspection of the vehicle, and found a man hiding under the rear seat of the pickup.
CBP officers found the man unable to get himself out of the compartment he was being smuggled in, under the back seat. After pulling a lever under the seat, officers were able to remove the man from the specially-built, after-market compartment.
CBP officers took the man into custody. Using his fingerprints, CBP officers confirmed that the 36-year-old Mexican citizen has no legal authority to enter the United States; he will face federal charges. CBP officers also took the woman into custody; she will also face federal charges. Both were transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center. CBP officers also seized the pickup truck.
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.