Federal officers stopped a human smuggling attempt after discovering a Chinese man being brought into the U.S. inside a pickup truck gas tank.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Calexico East port of entry referred a Mexican national who was driving a Ford F-150 pickup truck to a secondary inspection station. Officers said the man seemed nervous, according to information provided to Breitbart Texas by CBP officials.
A non-invasive search of the truck by CBP imaging systems revealed anomalies in the truck’s gas tank. Upon further inspection, the officers found a customized compartment where the Chinese national was stowed.
The tank of the truck had been modified to carry one person in the top half. The bottom half of the tank contained just enough fuel to operate the truck for the smuggling operation.
Officers opened the hidden compartment and discovered a 31-year-old Chinese man. The access panel to the tank was located in the bed of the pickup truck.
The Chinese national was taken into custody and will be processed by immigration officials. The driver of the truck, a Mexican national from Mexicali, was arrested and taken to the Imperial County Jail where he could face federal human smuggling charges. An immigration hold was placed on the Mexican man to make certain he was not released prior to prosecution.
The incident occurred at about 7 a.m. on July 29, officials stated.
Large numbers of Chinese illegal aliens have been reported entering southern California this year, Breitbart Texas’ Ildefonso Ortiz reported in June. During the period of October 2015 to May 2016, 663 Chinese illegal aliens had been captured in the San Diego Sector alone. That represents a massive increase from the 48 who were captured in all of fiscal year 2015. Only eight Chinese illegal aliens were captured in FY 2014.
Drug cartels can make anywhere from $50,000 to $70,000 per person by smuggling Chinese nationals into the U.S., Breitbart’s Carolyn May reported in June.