A big rig with nine unauthorized immigrants locked in its trailer was discovered this week at the Border Patrol checkpoint on westbound Interstate 8 in Campo, authorities said.
Border Patrol agents from the El Centro sector were conducting surveillance on the 2010 Volvo tractor-trailer around 8:30 p.m. Monday when it pulled into the Campo checkpoint, Border Patrol officials said. During an initial inspection, a dog zeroed in on the trailer, and the big rig was sent for a more thorough check.
Agents found nine unauthorized immigrants “locked inside the trailer with no way to [free] themselves,” officials said.
A Mexican man driving the big rig and all nine of those found in the trailer were arrested.
“This human smuggling technique is extremely callous,” Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez said in a statement. “We’ve seen all too often when people are locked inside tractor-trailers like this with no means of escape, they are at the mercy of malicious smugglers.”
Later the same night, agents arrested a second suspected smuggler who was “making unusual driving patterns on Interstate 8” in a 2015 Dodge Durango that had previously been spotted driving near the big rig, officials said.
“Through questioning, agents determined that the driver, a Mexican citizen, was a co-conspirator in the smuggling event,” agents said in a statement.
Both suspected smugglers were expected to face federal charges.