A Unique Revelation – Specially-Built Compartment Assists Human Smugglers
SAN YSIDRO – Port Security declared sternly to the discovery of a unique attempt at human smuggling: “A person’s life is always in danger when smugglers use specially-built compartments to smuggle people across the border,” said Sidney Aki, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego.
“Smugglers will stop at nothing to achieve their goals, even if that means risking human lives.” CBP San Diego Field-Op Director Aki was referring to last Friday’s dangerous attempt that revealed three men concealed in a vehicle’s cargo area – with no way to exit on their own. While an alleged human-smuggling attempt was thwarted, imagining the dire consquences looms large in those who witnessed it.
The April Fools’ Day incident took place when a 29-year-old anonymous male U.S. citizen approached for entry while driving a 2007 Hyundai Veracruz. As he applied for entry at the San Ysidro border crossing inspection booth at 11 A.M. – while a CBP Officer perused the vehicle – a person was located inside the spare-tire compartment in the rear cargo area.
That led to the driver being removed, with a quick escort to a secure area, as the vehicle was whisked to an inspection area.
From here, it grew to unique and insidious proportions – a non-factory compartment in the cargo area contained hidden people. Three men were extracted by CBP and led to a secure area for further processing.
Confirmation of the 21, 24, and 29-year-old men revealed their status as Mexican nationals, with no documents to allow them to enter the U.S. legally. As CBP officers seized the vehicle, preparation began to return all three of the men to Mexico.
MISSION STATEMENT: U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the comprehensive management, control, and protection of our nation’s borders, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection at and between official ports of entry.