TUCSON – On Thursday, U.S. Border Patrol agents thwarted human smugglers attempting to bring 16 Mexican nationals into the U.S. illegally.
The smugglers were intercepted near Border Wall construction outside Douglas at approximately 8:45 p.m.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), Border Patrol agents stopped a Dodge Ram truck for an immigration inspection on a dirt road along the border, east of Douglas. As they approached the vehicle, which contained seven visible people in the cab, the driver jumped out of the truck and fled to Mexico.
Agents further discovered 10 people in the truck’s bed. The migrants were stacked on top of one another and concealed beneath a latched fiberglass bed coverlid.
A records checks conducted by agents found that all but two of the 16 total individuals had been previously arrested for immigration violations. Three of these had significant immigration violations and face prosecution for illegal entry into the United States.
The remaining 13 people, aged 15 to 56, were expelled to Mexico under Title 42 authority, according to CBP.
Under Title 42, CBP prohibits the “entry of certain persons who potentially pose a health risk, either by virtue of being subject to previously announced travel restrictions or because they unlawfully entered the country to bypass health screening measures.”