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Smuggling on the Minnewawa

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JAMUL, California – In the past few months San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents have seen a sharp increase in human smuggling within the Otay Mountain Wilderness area of San Diego County. Smugglers are specifically targeting the Minnewawa portion of the Otay Mountain Truck Trail.

Since July of 2021, San Diego Sector Border Patrol has recorded more than 83 confirmed human smuggling events originating from this area, resulting in the arrest of 123 smugglers and 347 undocumented migrants.  The Minnewawa is a one lane, unpaved mountain road that originates off Otay Lakes Rd near the nine-and-a-half-mile marker and winds southbound into the Otay Mountains ending in an area close to the international border.

“Human smuggling organizations show a complete disregard for the safety of the people they are smuggling as well as to the safety of the hikers, bike riders and off-road enthusiasts who frequent the Otay Mountain Wilderness area.”  said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke.  “The treacherous driving tactics used by these criminals have resulted in numerous accidents, injuries, and death.”

San Diego Sector Border Patrol remains committed to the enforcement of federal law and the protection and safety of the public. San Diego Sector Border Patrol along with its other federal, state, and local partners will continue to patrol the Minnewawa and ensure the ability of the public to enjoy the natural resources in the Otay Mountain Wilderness.

  • Last Modified: February 23, 2022