Arizona border agents arrest 20 in separate human-smuggling attempts

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This photo from CBP shows a truck used in an attempted human-smuggling incident that Border agents from the Yuma Sector thwarted on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (CBP)

EL PASO (Border Report) ⁠— Border agents from the Yuma Sector made 20 arrests in a little over a week in connection with several human-smuggling cases.

Agents attempted to stop and inspect a Ford pickup in Dome Valley, Arizona on Tuesday. But according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the driver sped away and led agents on a chase on Highway 95. The driver then turned around, stopped on the side of the road, and let out four occupants before driving off. Agents were able to apprehend the four individuals, who were described as undocumented immigrants from Mexico. Agents later determined that one of them had been previously deported and convicted of felony firearm possession in Los Angeles. Agents said the driver, a U.S. citizen, eventually stopped. He was arrested and charged with human smuggling.

On Sunday, agents said a Toyota S.U.V. sped off upon seeing them, also in Dome Valley. The agents followed and found the S.U.V. abandoned on the side of the road a short distance away. Agents said footprints led them to five undocumented immigrants from Mexico who were all taken into custody.

CBP officials say smuggling organizations often use the Dome Valley route to avoid the Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 8 east of Yuma.

On July 11, agents said they spotted six individuals swimming in the Alamo Canal in Andrade, California. From a helicopter, agents with Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations observed the individuals get out of the canal and run into a parked vehicle. Agents tried to stop the vehicle before the driver stopped and everyone got out and ran back into the canal. Agents said all six were undocumented immigrants from Mexico. Agents said one of them had been previously deported and had a felony conviction of being in possession of burglary tools 2017 in Maricopa County, Arizona.

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