By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Six immigrants from Mexico and Central America have been taken into custody on suspicion of trying to sneak into the United States by squeezing into an auxiliary fuel tank that was mounted in the bed of a pickup truck.
The six were all sweating profusely and disoriented after being removed from the tank that was about 5 feet long, 4 feet wide and 18 inches deep, Border Patrol officials said on Wwedneday.
The truck pulled up for routine inspection last week at a checkpoint near the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas, where a dog alerted agents to something amiss in the tank, the officials said.
The truck was escorted to a facility where an X-Ray scan of the vehicle indicated the men were stuffed inside the fuel tank.
A forklift lifted the tank off the truck bed and released the six men, aged 19 to 50, who received medical care.
"This incident highlights the dangers of attempting to enter the United States illegally," said Border Patrol Chief Rodolfo Karisch, who heads the agency's Del Rio Sector.
The driver of the pickup, a 52-year-old man from San Antonio, was arrested on a charge of alien smuggling.
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney)