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11 Chinese nationals found hiding in truck at San Ysidro border crossing

At least one person was found hiding inside a washing machine inside the back of a moving truck Dec. 7 at the San Ysidro port of entry.
At least one person was found hiding inside a washing machine inside the back of a moving truck Dec. 7 at the San Ysidro port of entry.
(U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Federal agents found 11 Chinese nationals hidden inside a moving truck filled with furniture — which acted as hiding spots — when the vehicle was stopped at the San Ysidro border crossing this weekend, officials said.

Agents stopped the 42-year-old truck driver, a U.S. citizen, around 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and held his truck for a secondary search, according to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

Customs officers searched the truck and found 11 people hidden and crammed inside various pieces of furniture. Photos provided by Customs officials showed at least one person crouching inside a washing machine and another squeezed inside a wooden chest.

Agents arrested the driver for attempted human smuggling, and the 11 Chinese citizens were held pending criminal and immigration proceedings, according to the statement.

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"[Customs and Border Protection] cannot stress enough the dangers of smuggling people,” Pete Flores, director of field operations in San Diego for the federal agency, said in a statement.

“These are human beings that smugglers subject to inhumane conditions that could have deadly consequences,” Flores said. “Fortunately no one was seriously injured.”

Saturday’s incident occurred about a month after six Chinese nationals attempted to cross the border inside a moving truck on Nov. 7, but were found by federal agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Garrett writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.


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