Border agents stopped human trafficking tractor-trailer just miles away from Tuesday’s fatal crash that killed 13

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SALTON CITY, Calif. –  Five hours before the fatal crash that claimed 13 lives in nearby Holtville on Monday morning, U.S. Border patrol agents stopped a tractor-trailer full of illegal aliens 30 minutes north near Salton City.

El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Highway 86 immigration checkpoint arrested a man suspected of smuggling eight illegal aliens Friday morning.

The incident occurred at approximately 1:20 a.m., when a man driving a semi tractor-trailer hauling a reefer approached the checkpoint. Agents conducted an immigration check on the driver in the primary inspection area. Agents noticed that the driver was visibly nervous and referred him to secondary for further inspection.

During secondary inspection, Border Patrol agents asked the driver for and was granted consent to inspect his cargo that he was transporting. Agents inspected the cargo area of the reefer and discovered eight illegal aliens laying down. The temperature of the reefer was at 45-degree Fahrenheit at the time of discovery. Agents safely removed all the subjects and conducted welfare checks.


The driver, a 40-year-old United States citizen and eight illegal aliens, which included three adult female Mexican nationals, four adult male Mexican nationals and one adult male Chinese national, were placed under arrest.

The driver was processed administratively for 8 USC 1324, Alien Smuggling. The seven illegal aliens from Mexico were repatriated back to Mexico. The illegal alien from China will be Expeditiously Removed from the United States.

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