SALTON CITY — El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Highway 86 immigration checkpoint arrested two men suspected of smuggling 24 illegal aliens Sunday, February 21, according to a press release.
The incident occurred at approximately 11:35 a.m., when two men driving two separate trucks approached the checkpoint. The first man, driving a blue Ford F350, hauling a white toy hauler trailer, was questioned first by an agent. The driver told the agent that he was traveling with a person driving the white Ford F250 also hauling a white toy hauler behind him. While Border Patrol agents were conducting their investigation on the drivers during primary inspection, a Border Patrol canine detection team alerted to the toy haulers. Both drivers were referred to secondary for further inspection.
During secondary inspection, Border Patrol agents inspected the toy haulers and discovered 24 illegal aliens concealed inside. Agents safely removed all the subjects and conducted welfare checks.
Additionally, one of the drivers admitted to having cocaine for personal use and a handgun legally registered to his name.
Both drivers — 30 and 35-year-old United States citizens — the 24 illegal aliens, which included 22 adult men and two adult women, were placed under arrest. The vehicles, toy haulers, a loaded .40 caliber Springfield XC handgun, and .65 grams of cocaine were seized.
The drivers were processed administratively for 8 USC 1324, Alien Smuggling. All 24 illegal aliens were repatriated back to Mexico.