16 arrested after cutting through border wall to enter US

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SAN DIEGO -- Sixteen people were arrested near Campo Wednesday afternoon after cutting through a portion of the border wall and illegally entering the United States from Mexico, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Border Patrol agents spotted a white Dodge 4500 utility truck crossing into the U.S. around 3:45 p.m. About 15 minutes later, agents saw a man trying to cut a lock on the private gate of a nearby home with bolt cutters. He was standing near a vehicle that matched the description of the one that had just crossed the border.

The man got back in the truck and drove away when authorities tried to intercept him. Agents began a short pursuit that ended with the driver and 15 people inside the vehicle getting out and running away.

Border Patrol agents quickly arrested all 16 people, who admitted to entering the U.S. illegally. The 16 individuals were taken to a Border Patrol station for processing.

"A vehicle drive-thru, with overloaded and unsecured passengers, particularly in this terrain, can certainly result in a rollover accident with serious injuries and death," San Diego Sector Interim Chief Douglas Harrison said. "The breach of this old landing mat wall is illustrative of the need for more hardened infrastructure with greater impedance and denial capabilities to keep the area secure."

The arrestees included nine male Mexican nationals between the ages of 15 and 53, five female Mexican nationals between the ages of 18 and 40, a 28-year-old Guatemalan man and a 29-year-old Guatemalan woman.

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