CBP Reports “Disturbing Trend” as Big Rig Human Smuggling Operations Spike

Salton City, CA – The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reports a spike in truck drivers attempting to smuggle people into the country using big rigs.

In a statement on Thursday, Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino, of the El Centro Sector, said that despite unprecedented cross-border travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, human smugglers are continuing a “disturbing trend.”

“The increase in tractor-trailer smuggling continues to illustrate the total disregard that smuggling organizations have for the well-being of the people they are smuggling,” said Bovino. “Our agents will continue to work tirelessly in protecting the safety and security of all human life.”


In March, El Centro Sector agents discovered 42 smuggled immigrants dangerously packed inside of a utility trailer near the border in Calexico.

Additionally, there were two similar smuggling events that occurred in January and February of this year.

The most recent incident occurred on Monday at approximately 11:30 p.m., when agents were conducting surveillance on a white 2012 International Prostar tractor-trailer traveling northbound on Highway 86.

CBP says agents followed the tractor-trailer as it approached the Border Patrol immigration checkpoint on Highway 86.

During inspection, while Border Patrol agents conducted an immigration check on the driver, a Border Patrol K-9 detection team alerted to the cab area of the truck.


Agents referred the tractor-trailer for further inspection.

While in the secondary inspection area, Border Patrol agents observed three people jump out of the truck cab, attempting to avoid arrest.


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The three subjects, which included two adult males and one unaccompanied female juvenile, were quickly apprehended and determined to be illegally present in the U.S.

The male driver, a 36-year-old Mexican national, and the three individuals from Mexico were placed under arrest.

All four were repatriated back to Mexico, according to CBP.


Multiple Thwarted Attempts in Laredo in April

Agents in Laredo, TX are also reporting similar increases in big rig human smuggling attempts.

Just this month, agents disrupted multiple human smuggling operations.

Click HERE to read more about these cases.

Photo courtesy CBP



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