Thermal, Calif. - El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio Station apprehended a suspected illegal alien smuggler and three others after the driver vehicle sped away from the Highway 86 checkpoint located between Westmorland and Salton City.
The incident occurred on December 10, at approximately 6:00 p.m., when a 26-year-old United States citizen female driver approached the checkpoint and then sped away from agents conducting primary inspection.
Agents followed the vehicle, a 2013 Chevrolet Impala, which failed to yield to Border Patrol agents and continued to travel north toward Desert Shores on Highway 86. Border Patrol agents requested assistance from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine. CHP located the vehicle stopped near the Coachella Canal and Airport Boulevard, approximately one mile east of Highway 86. Agents approached the vehicle and observed that it was stopped against a dirt berm and had caught on fire. No one was inside the vehicle. Soon after, the CHP helicopter located several people near the scene and directed Border Patrol agents to their location.
Through coordinated efforts with CHP, Border Patrol agents apprehended the driver, a suspected alien smuggler, and three illegal aliens from Mexico. As a result of the incident, the driver and two of the illegal aliens sustained non-life-threatening injuries. All individuals were provided medical care and are in U.S. Border Patrol custody pending further investigation. U.S. Border Patrol seized the vehicle involved in the incident.
The El Centro Sector's Community Awareness Campaign is a simple and effective program to raise public awareness on the indicators of crime and other threats. We encourage public and private sector employees to remain vigilant and play a key role in keeping our country safe. Please report any suspicious activity to the Border Community Threat Hotline at (800) 901-2003.
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.