SAN DIEGO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa port of entry on Friday stopped an attempt to enter the U.S. illegally after discovering a undocumented woman concealed under the rear seat of a vehicle, driven by a woman traveling with her three-year-old daughter.
At about 10:15 a.m., the 30-year-old female U.S. citizen driving a 1995 Honda Civic sedan entered the Otay Mesa border crossing with her three-year-old child. When she arrived for inspection, a CBP officer noticed the woman appeared nervous and referred her aside for further review.
Officers utilized the port’s imaging system and detected anomalies in the Honda’s gas tank and the area under the rear seat. Officers removed the child seat from the rear seat of the vehicle and discovered a hidden compartment built into the gas tank underneath.
While searching the compartment, CBP officers discovered an undocumented woman lying in a fetal position inside.
Officers extracted the woman, a 23-year-old Mexican citizen, from the compartment and escorted her to a secure location for further processing.
The driver was arrested and will face federal charges related to the incident. She was later transported to Metropolitan Correctional Center to await arraignment.
CBP placed an immigration hold on the undocumented woman to initiate removal from the United States at the conclusion of the criminal proceedings.
The child was released to the custody of a Child Protective Services.
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.