USBP Foils Elaborate Human Smuggling Plot

PINE VALLEY, Calif. — U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Interstate 8 checkpoint near Pine Valley arrested 12 undocumented migrants who were being smuggled within a hay-stack on a tractor-trailer.

The incident occurred on Thursday at approximately 3:30 p.m. when a man driving a white tractor-trailer loaded with hay bales approached the I-8 checkpoint.  While the primary agent conducted an immigration inspection, a Border Patrol K-9 alerted to the middle section of the trailer.

Once in secondary, agents inspected the hay-stack load and discovered 12 people hidden inside a void within the stacks of hay.

All 12 were safely removed from the hay-stacks.  All were adult male Mexican nationals with no legal right to enter or remain in the U.S.

The driver, a 46-year-old U.S. citizen was booked for alien smuggling.

The tractor-trailer was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

“Human smugglers have no regard for life,” said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke.  “This tight space within the hay-stacks was not ventilated and was not designed with passenger safety in mind.  I am proud of our agents.  Their dedication to service and the preservation of life prevented serious harm from befalling these individuals.”

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