YUMA — Wellton Border Patrol agents arrested a convicted human smuggler Thursday, July 15, according to a press release. His vehicle was seized.
An agent conducting routine patrol along Highway 95 noticed a suspicious vehicle in the area, which quickly pulled into a business upon seeing the agent. The agent stopped to conduct a consensual encounter with the driver and discovered he was in the act of smuggling three Mexican nationals — a 19 and 21-year-old female, and a 19-year-old male. The females were sitting in the front passenger and rear passenger seat, respectively, and the male was hiding in the rear cargo area.
Agents arrested the driver — a 61-year-old naturalized US citizen from California — for alien smuggling. The three migrants were also arrested for illegally being present in the US. The driver and migrants were transported to the Wellton station for processing. Record checks conducted on those involved revealed the driver had an extensive criminal record, which included convicted felonies out of California for arson, grand theft, burglary, and for bringing in and harboring aliens, the last of which he is currently on probation for.
The driver will not only face charges for alien smuggling, but also for violating his probation. The Mexican nationals will be processed and subsequently returned to Mexico.