Transnational Criminal Organization Targets Old Border Wall in Brazen Smuggling Attempt
CAMPO, Calif.—U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 16 individuals Wednesday afternoon after smugglers cut the old landing mat border wall to facilitate a vehicle drive-thru human smuggling incident.
The event began around 3:45 p.m., when agents on duty near the town of Campo, reported an incursion at the international border wall. A white Dodge 4500 utility truck had crossed into the U.S. from Mexico. Agents in the vicinity were alerted of the incursion.
At approximately 4 p.m., agents observed an adult male with bolt cutters attempting to cut a lock on a local resident’s private gate with a truck matching the description of the suspect vehicle. Agents activated their emergency lights and siren to stop the suspect vehicle, but the driver refused to yield and fled.
After a short pursuit the truck stopped and the driver and passengers fled. Agents tracked down the subjects and arrested the driver and 15 passengers. All 16 admitted to entering the U.S. illegally and were transported to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing.
The group included nine Mexican national males between the ages of 15 and 53 and five Mexican national females between the ages of 18 and 40. There were also two Guatemalan nationals, a 28-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman.
The stolen utility truck was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
“A vehicle drive-thru, with overloaded and unsecured passengers, particularly in this terrain, can certainly result in a rollover accident with serious injuries and death,” said San Diego Sector Interim Chief Douglas Harrison. “The breach of this old landing mat wall is illustrative of the need for more hardened infrastructure with greater impedance and denial capabilities to keep the area secure. I’m proud of our agents’ steadfast vigilance that put a stop to this smuggling attempt.”
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
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.