Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents foiled two separate human smuggling attempts over Easter weekend, leading to the arrest of five illegal border crossers and two smugglers.
Saturday afternoon, agents patrolling rural roads east of Ajo conducted an immigration inspection vehicle stop on a late model Nissan sedan. During the inspection, agents determined the driver, a 25-year-old Phoenix woman, was smuggling three illegal border crossers in the vehicle.
Easter Sunday, agents at the primary inspection lane of the immigration checkpoint on state Route 85 near Gila Bend encountered a Buick sedan driven by a 39-year-old Phoenix woman. Following a Border Patrol canine alert, agents conducted a secondary inspection, where they discovered two illegal border crossers concealed in the trunk.
All five illegal border crossers were expeditiously expelled from the country. Both U.S. citizen drivers were arrested and face possible human smuggling charges.
“Despite traditional risks of human beings being stuffed into a trunk, there’s now increased risk due to exposure to coronavirus,” said Tucson Sector Border Patrol Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Michele Morales. “These human smuggling tactics increase exposure risks for our agents, those they smuggle, and endanger the safety of the American people.”
Since March 14, the U.S. Border Patrol has utilized portable command stations to process illegal border crossers in the field. Enacted under Title 42, this system expeditiously expels certain border crossers through ports of entry, eliminating the need to transport people to U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities, reducing possible exposures to illness.