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40 Mexicans linked to human smuggling ring arrested at Imperial Beach apartments, Border Patrol says

40 Mexicans linked to human smuggling ring arrested at Imperial Beach apartments, Border Patrol says
Border Patrol agents discovered two Imperial Beach homes allegedly linked to human smuggling operations, resulting in the arrest of 40 people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Border Patrol agents discovered two Imperial Beach apartments believed to be connected to human smuggling operations, resulting in the arrest of 40 people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally, federal authorities said Tuesday.

Agents received information about one of the homes, an apartment at the Serenidad complex on Elder Avenue, about 1:30 p.m. Monday.

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Agents got permission from the apartment’s occupants to search inside, where they found 22 people suspected of being Mexican nationals trying to hide, federal officials said.

After making arrests, agents interviewed several residents, which led them to check a second, nearby apartment.

Agents were given permission to search that unit as well, federal officials said, and found 18 people suspected of being Mexican nationals who came to the U.S. illegally inside.

“Identifying and dismantling smuggling organizations is our top priority,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Rodney S. Scott said in a statement. “These organizations cannot be allowed to operate with impunity inside of our communities.”

Of the 40 people arrested, 36 were males between 16 and 49. The remaining four were women, ages 24 to 46. One man was a previously deported felon with domestic violence convictions, authorities said.

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