TUCSON, Ariz. – U.S. Border Patrol agents working at the State Route 90 Immigration Checkpoint in Whetstone arrested a 49-year-old Hereford man after finding 10 Mexican nationals hidden inside a locked trailer he was towing Monday evening.
An agent working the primary inspection lane referred the driver of a Chevy Suburban for secondary inspection after a Border Patrol canine alerted to an odor it is trained to detect emitting from the trailer in tow.
In the secondary inspection area, agents observed individuals hiding inside the trailer’s makeshift enclosure through gaps in the plywood. Agents immediately began removing the straps to open the compartment, free the occupants, and ensure their safety.
Agents had to remove a large bag of cans at the back of the trailer in order to reach the nine men and one woman packed among appliances being hauled in the locked enclosure. The occupants were removed from the compartment, assessed, and provided water by agents.
The driver, a U.S. citizen, was arrested for human smuggling and his vehicle and trailer were seized. The Mexican nationals, ages 18 to 38, were transported to the Willcox Border Patrol Station to be processed for immigration violations.
Federal law allows agents to charge individuals by complaint, a method that allows the filing of charges for criminal activity without inferring guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
As Arizona’s temperatures rise, people hiding in vehicle trunks or trailers are at a greater risk of suffering from heat injury, physical injury, and death.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials welcome assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free.
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.