13 Migrants Found Under Hay Bales at California Immigration Checkpoint

13 illegal aliens found hiding under bails of hay stacked on a flatbed trailer. (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/El Centro Sector)
Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/El Centro Sector

El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a human smuggler and 13 migrants after a failed smuggling attempt in Southern California. The agents found them hiding under bales of hay on the back of a tractor-trailer on Monday.

Agents assigned to the Highway 86 interior immigration checkpoint on Monday evening observed a 2007 Strong BTM semi hauling a flatbed trailer loaded with hay approaching for inspection. During the initial interview, a K-9 alerted to an odor it is trained to detect coming from the trailer. The agents referred the driver to a secondary inspection area.

During a physical search of the trailer, the agents found 13 illegal immigrants hiding inside the stacks of hay. Due to the weight of the hay bales and the nature of how they were stacked, the migrants had limited air circulation and no means of escape in the event of being abandoned by the smugglers. They also would have been seriously injured or killed had the load shifted or a crash occurred, officials disclosed.

Agents identified the driver as a 42-year-old illegal alien from Mexico. They identified his human cargo as 12 adult men and one woman — all from Mexico. The agents arrested the migrants and the driver on human smuggling and immigration violations.

Under Title 42 Coronavirus protection protocols put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all 14 of the Mexican nationals were removed to Mexico after being medically screened and passing a biometric background investigation and criminal records check.

The driver was also “processed administratively” for alien smuggling, officials reported.

El Centro Sector officials said this is the ninth tractor-trailer-related human smuggling incident disrupted this year in the Imperial Valley region.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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