CALEXICO, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico downtown port of entry found a man concealed beneath the rear seat of a car on Monday. The agency called it another example of “inhumane” conditions used by human smugglers.
An unnamed 18-year-old woman driving a black Mitsubishi was stopped at the Calexico West port of entry just after 1 a.m., U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a press release. A booth officer sent the driver, a U.S. citizen, and the vehicle to secondary inspection.
A CBP canine team examined the car and alerted officers to the rear seat, the agency said. A 48-year-old Mexican national was found hidden within “a non-factory compartment” beneath the seat cushions.
The man was removed from the vehicle and taken to a secured facility for further processing.
The woman was taken into custody and is being held at the Imperial County Jail, where she awaits criminal proceedings, the agency said.
“The primary focus of our national security mission is to protect the American homeland from all threats,” said CBP Director of Field Operations for San Diego, Pete Flores.
“Although we routinely encounter individuals attempting to enter our country illegally, this incident serves as another example of the inhumane tactics human smugglers will utilize in order to circumvent our laws,” Flores continued.
Human smugglers have been arrested using a variety of methods to conceal illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
In Texas last month, a disabled dump truck towed by law enforcement authorities to an impound yard was later found to contain 36 illegal immigrants concealed beneath a false floor hauling sand, dirt, and gravel.
California border officers last December found 11 Chinese nationals hiding inside appliances and furniture that filled a moving truck.