TUCSON, Ariz. – Tucson Station Border Patrol agents rescued a 13-year-old Guatemalan girl from human smugglers Monday.
Agents discovered the girl’s brother in the trunk of a car during inspection at the Arivaca Road Immigration Checkpoint Sunday afternoon, leading to the arrest of the driver, a 62-year-old Arivaca man, for human smuggling.
Also found in the vehicle being smuggled were a Mexican woman and another Guatemalan minor. While processing the group, agents learned the 13-year-old sister of one of the juveniles was left behind with other smugglers at a residence near Arivaca.
Agents combed Arivaca for 24-hours, finding the missing girl in a home with an unrelated 24-year-old man also illegally present in the country.
The young girl was found to be in good health, and transported to Tucson for further processing. The girl and her brother, now in the U.S. Border Patrol’s care, were able to speak with their mother residing in the United States who expressed relief that her children were safe.
Migrants face many dangers at the hands of smugglers. Children in particular are extremely vulnerable to exploitation and environmental threats such as extreme heat and cold.
Federal law allows agents to charge individuals by complaint, a method that allows the filing of criminal activity charges without inferring guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless or until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Citizens can help the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling 1-866-999-8727 toll-free to report suspicious activity. Callers can remain anonymous.
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.