Border Patrol Thwarts Elaborate Human Smuggling Attempt

Posted: Jun 21, 2020 7:30 PM

On Thursday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents foiled an elaborate human smuggling attempt involving hay bales. 

Near Pine Valley, California, CBP agents working the Interstate 8 checkpoint discovered 12 illegal aliens hidden inside creatively stacked hay bales on top of a tractor-trailer. CBP says the incident took place around 3:30 p.m. local time on Thursday. 

The discovery was made after a K-9 alerted agents near the middle of the tractor-trailer. 

Smugglers had created a void using hay bales, concealing 12 illegal immigrants inside. All 12 were males from Mexico. The driver was a 46-year-old U.S. citizen. The driver was booked for alien smuggling and CBP seized the tractor-trailer.

"Human smugglers have no regard for life," said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke. "This tight space within the hay-stacks was not ventilated and was not designed with passenger safety in mind. I am proud of our agents. Their dedication to service and the preservation of life prevented serious harm from befalling these individuals."

Smugglers of both humans and drugs find creative ways to conceal cargo from CBP. In May 2019, CBP officers working the Deconcini pedestrian crossing found eight pounds of methamphetamine concealed inside a man's wheelchair.

On a typical day in 2019, CBP disrupted or seized an average of 3,707 pounds of narcotics, $207,356 in undeclared or illicit currency, and $4.3 million in products violating intellectual property rights.