PINE VALLEY, Calif.—Two men who had a loaded firearm stashed in their vehicle while attempting to smuggle five Mexican nationals were arrested early Wednesday morning at a Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 8 near Pine Valley, Calif.
At about 2 a.m., a 19-year-old male driver and 18-year-old male passenger arrived at the checkpoint’s primary inspection area in a Hyundai Santa Fe SUV. During the initial inspection, an agent noticed two men laying down in the cargo area of the SUV. The agent referred the driver for a secondary inspection.
During the secondary inspection, agents discovered three additional men sitting in the back seat of the SUV. Agents questioned the five additional passengers, all of whom admitted to being illegally in the U.S. The driver and passenger, along with the foreign nationals, were arrested and taken to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing.
After the arrest, agents conducted of search of the SUV and discovered an AR-15 assault rifle in the vehicle’s rear cargo area. The weapon was loaded with 19 rounds of ammunition.
The two suspected smugglers, both U.S. citizens, are currently in Federal custody facing human smuggling charges. The weapons and the vehicle were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
To prevent the illicit smuggling of humans, drugs, and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance on corridors of egress away from our Nation’s borders. To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.