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USBP Foils Elaborate Human Smuggling Plot

Release Date: 
June 19, 2020

PINE VALLEY, Calif. — U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Interstate 8 checkpoint near Pine Valley arrested 12 undocumented migrants who were being smuggled within a hay-stack on a tractor-trailer.

Smuggling attempt
Border Patrol agents found 12 illegal aliens hiding 
within a load of hay Thursday.

The incident occurred on Thursday at approximately 3:30 p.m. when a man driving a white tractor-trailer loaded with hay bales approached the I-8 checkpoint.  While the primary agent conducted an immigration inspection, a Border Patrol K-9 alerted to the middle section of the trailer.

Once in secondary, agents inspected the hay-stack load and discovered 12 people hidden inside a void within the stacks of hay.

All 12 were safely removed from the hay-stacks.  All were adult male Mexican nationals with no legal right to enter or remain in the U.S.

Hay bales
Smugglers constructed a compartment  within 
the hays bales in which to conceal the illegal aliens.

The driver, a 46-year-old U.S. citizen was booked for alien smuggling.

The tractor-trailer was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

“Human smugglers have no regard for life,” said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke.  “This tight space within the hay-stacks was not ventilated and was not designed with passenger safety in mind.  I am proud of our agents.  Their dedication to service and the preservation of life prevented serious harm from befalling these individuals.”

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.       

Last modified: 
June 19, 2020