Chinese man is found locked in secret compartment of car impounded in San Diego

A Chinese man in the country illegally was found inside a locked compartment of an impounded car early Saturday following a traffic stop in San Diego, police said.

The 2016 Toyota Tundra was pulled over about 2 a.m. on Interstate 15 in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood, Police Sgt. Tom Sullivan said.

Officers impounded the car after the driver and registered owner of the vehicle was issued citations for speeding and driving without a license, Sullivan said. The vehicle was taken to a lot by a Road One Towing driver.


While taking inventory of the vehicle, a tow company employee heard yelling and banging from inside the vehicle, Sullivan said. Officers were called to the scene, along with San Diego Fire Department officials.

The man was found in a compartment built into the vehicle behind the back seat.

“He couldn’t get out,” Sullivan said. “Impound employees had to unbolt the seat.”

The man was not injured, but officers determined he was in the country illegally. Border Patrol officials were called about 4:45 a.m.

Border Patrol spokesman Mark Endicott said the driver of the vehicle was arrested and charged with human smuggling. Officers also found a handgun with 15 rounds of ammunition in the car, Endicott said.

The man found hidden in the vehicle was also arrested and is being processed for removal.

Schroeder writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune