Border Patrol agents in El Centro, California arrested three U. S. citizens for smuggling 52 illegal immigrants on Friday morning August 7, 2020.
At 5:08 a.m., remote video surveillance system operators reported a stake bed truck and van suspected of immigrant smuggling near the border wall. Agents responded to the location and observed the stake bed truck and van traveling away from the border. Agents immediately conducted a vehicle stop on the stake truck and advised other agents that the van continued down a highway.
Agents approached the driver of the stake truck and conducted an interview. The driver, a 22 year-old U. S. citizen man admitted to having illegal immigrants in the rear cargo area of the truck. Agents searched the truck and discovered 37 people attempting to conceal themselves under a black tarp in the bed of the truck. The smuggled group consisted of 36 adult Mexican nationals and one adult Guatemalan national illegally present in the United States.
Moments later, agents encountered the van and performed a vehicle stop. Agents approached the driver and front seat passenger and determined both to be U. S. citizens. Further inspection of the vehicle revealed 15 people in the back of the van. Agents interviewed the occupants and determined all to be adult Mexican nationals illegally present in the United States.
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The three U. S. citizens and 52 illegal immigrants, consisting of 35 men and 17 women between the ages of 18 and 52 were placed under arrest and were transported to a border patrol station for further processing.
Both the stake truck driver and van driver are being presented for criminal prosecution. All smuggled illegal immigrants are being held in federal custody pending further processing.