Individuals who are determined to enter the United States illegally won’t let anything stand in their way. But when criminals made a hole in a section of the border wall, it didn’t take long for authorities to take notice and shut it down.
Sixteen people were arrested this past Wednesday in what federal officials described as a “brazen” smuggling attempt that involved cutting a section of the border wall in Southern California.
While efforts are in motion to update the dilapidated part of the wall, there’s still clearly several zones that have numerous areas of opportunity that are seen as advantages toward those looking to exploit inferior portions of the border.
According to a news release on Thursday of this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said that a white Dodge utility truck was spotted driving across the United States-Mexico border at around 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday after human smugglers cut a hole in the “old landing mat border wall” near Campo, California.
At approximately 4:00 p.m. that day, agents then saw a man with a truck that matched that description of the Dodge that had been noticed earlier. Apparently, the man was using bolt cutters to cut a lock on a local’s private gate, according to reports coming in from federal officials.
In a statement provided by the agency, it was mentioned that:
“Agents activated their emergency lights and siren to stop the suspect vehicle, but the driver refused to yield and fled.”
It’s apparently not an uncommon thing either with regard to border cities, as agents will rarely encounter someone willing to throw in the towel so quickly.
Agents then began to chase the truck and it eventually stopped. Yet, it appears it wasn’t actually a move to surrender to the agents in pursuit, but rather as a tactic to create chase in multiple directions.
When the vehicle came to a stop, the driver, as well as all the passengers, began fleeing in multiple directions. While the idea of over a dozen people bolting in various directions might seem like an endeavor befitting of some Benny Hill music and slapstick follies, most agents are quite used to this as well.
Ultimately, all 16 of the suspects were tracked down and arrested.
According to the agency’s statement regarding the successful arrests, “All 16 admitted to entering the U.S. illegally and were transported to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing.”
Border Patrol agents also detailed that nine were Mexican men ages 15 to 53, five were Mexican women ages 18 to 40 and two were Guatemalan; a 28-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman.
Regarding the truck that was used during the escapade, officials stated that the 27-year-old Mexican driver’s stolen truck was seized and he “will be criminally prosecuted.”
U.S. Border Patrol Officials with the San Diego Sector shared some photos of the broken border wall with McClatchy news group and said that, “smugglers cut the old border wall to facilitate an alien smuggling attempt.”
CBP says the new border infrastructure will help prevent this type of incursion. https://t.co/C3KGlD2Nai
— Border Report (@BorderReportcom) November 22, 2019
A hole in the wall is a bit more direct than what’s we’ve seen before, as we’ve known that tunnels have been an issue since 1990, with having nearly 170 discovered since then.
San Diego Sector Interim Chief Douglas Harrison released a statement regarding the attempt.
“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.”
Harrison speculated on the dangerous aspect of what an overloaded vehicle and unstable and uneven terrain can pose for those aboard: “vehicle drive-thru, with overloaded and unsecured passengers, particularly in this terrain, can certainly result in a rollover accident with serious injuries and death.”
A similar attempt was made just last month.
Federal officials say that two men are now facing federal human smuggling charges after DHS agents discovered nearly three-dozen people in the back of a refrigerated tractor-trailer truck in October.
According to a report from FOX, the truck was going through a checkpoint in southern Arizona when a dog alerted the CBP officials to the back of the truck. When they opened the trailer doors, they didn’t just find the produce stashed back there, but instead found 32 passengers from Ecuador and Mexico sitting inside.
The driver and passenger of the vehicle, identified only as U.S. citizens in their 30’s, were immediately arrested. Authorities took the 32 undocumented individuals to the Nogales port of entry to be processed for immigration violations.
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DHS officials slammed the truck drivers for their reckless behavior, first being that it was only 47 degrees inside the refrigerated trailer, and additionally because if an accident had occurred, there was nothing to prevent the passengers from being severely injured.
“If there is an accident, these people are going to be violently thrown in the back of this trailer because there are no restraints or consideration for the people being smuggled,” said CBP official Joe Curran. “People aren’t cargo, they’re not meant to be in the back of tractor-trailers and they’re not meant to be transported in this fashion.”
Despite the frigid temperatures in the back of the truck, officials at the scene said that most of the people in the back were only wearing t-shirts. They ranged in age from 16 to 53, according to FOX.
Curran says X-ray technology helped them to locate illegal cargo or attempts of smuggling during checkpoints.
“We refer vehicles to secondary where we get a better look and understanding of what is going on where we utilize this X-ray technology, which is a huge benefit,” Curran said.
The White House also condemned the actions of the smugglers.
“Smuggling humans in commercial vehicles is not only unlawful: It places the passengers in extreme danger,” they tweeted.
DHS officials in the Tucson area said that they’ve discovered a number of attempts to use semi-trucks to bring people into the country illegally over the last few months.
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