40 undocumented immigrants found hiding in South Bay apartments

SAN DIEGO -- Border Patrol agents say 40 people found hiding inside two South Bay apartment units Monday were part of a smuggling operation from Mexico.

Working on a tip that smugglers may be using the building, agents arrived at the Serenidad apartment complex in 1485 Elder Avenue in the Egger Highlands neighborhood of San Diego Monday afternoon. They were given permission to search one unit, where Border Patrol found 22 undocumented Mexican nationals hiding inside, according to the agency. As they arrested the people found inside that unit, agents were tipped off to another potential hideout by building residents. They got permission to search that unit and found an additional 18 people.

Border Patrol said a total of 36 men, aged between 16 and 49, and four women, ages 24 to 46, were arrested. The group was taken to a station nearby for processing. One of the men was a felon who had previously been deported, agents said.

“Identifying and dismantling smuggling organizations is our top priority,” said Chief Patrol Agent Rodney S. Scott.  “These organizations cannot be allowed to operate with impunity inside of our communities.”