A 24-year-old man with U.S. citizenship pulled up to a border crossing from Mexico this week, seemingly with an empty Chrysler sedan.
But a U.S. Customs and Border Protection dog indicated there was some illicit cargo.
Inside the trunk they found four Chinese citizens crammed together, none with the proper clearance to legally enter the U.S., according to a statement from Customs and Border Protection.
The alleged smuggling attempt occurred Tuesday just before 6 p.m. at the San Ysidro border crossing. Officials released details of the incident Thursday.
The driver, whose name was not released, was taken into federal custody and is at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego awaiting arraignment.
Officials also placed an immigration hold on the three female and one male Chinese nationals.
The four were expected to be deported after the criminal case against the driver concludes.
“Concealing persons in vehicles is dangerous and could have severe consequences,” Pete Flores, director of field operations for Customs and Border Protection in San Diego, said in a statement.
“San Ysidro CBP officers stopped a violation of our immigration law and were able to resolve the incident safely.”