Border Patrol agents in the Yuma Sector arrested 26 illegal immigrants and a human smuggler as they disrupted two separate operations.
A Border Patrol supervisor assigned to the Welton station observed a white Ford F-350 passenger van approaching the Interstate 8 immigration checkpoint shortly after midnight on July 12. The supervisor observed 13 people in the van. The agent also observed a construction helmet and a reflective safety vest on the dash. These items are commonly worn by construction workers, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.
During an initial screening, the supervisor learned that the driver was a Mexican national with legal permanent resident status. However, questioning of the 12 passengers revealed a human smuggling operation. All 12 were from Mexico and did not have legal status in the U.S., officials stated. Border Patrol agents arrested the driver and took the dozen into custody. The driver will be charged with human smuggling and the 12 migrants face possible charges for immigration violations. The driver could also face the loss of his legal status.
On the following day, Blythe Station agents assigned to the Highway 78 immigration checkpoint found a large group of illegal immigrants attempting to circumvent the checkpoint on foot. Agents found 14 in the brush and took them into custody. An investigation revealed that 13 of them came to the U.S. from Mexico. The remaining migrant was from Guatemala. The agents determined the 14 illegal immigrants were part of a human smuggling operation. They are all being processed for removal proceedings, officials stated. Officials did not say if the human smuggler was part of the group.