Teen found stuffed under dashboard during search at border

CALEXICO, Calif. – Customs officers made a startling discovery while searching a car that was crossing into the US at the Calexico port of entry.

A 28-year-old man with a 21-year-old passenger entered the Calexico West border crossing from Mexicali on Monday at about 8:30 a.m. The driver and passenger, both U.S. citizens, were directed to secondary inspection, and border officers began searching the car. An officer opened the car’s glove compartment and saw a human hand behind the dashboard.

Officers dismantled the dashboard and found a 17-year-old Mexican citizen crammed into the narrow space with his legs draped over the steering column.

The teenager was freed from the car, given a health check and questioned, according to CBP officials. They ran his name through a record check and determined that he had been caught in March trying to enter the US at the Otay Mesa port of entry with a document that did not belong to him, CPB officials said. He was placed in federal custody pending legal proceedings

“Smuggling a person in a confined space is dangerous and can have serious consequences, said CBP Officer in Charge Sergio Beltran. “In this instance, no one was seriously injured during this attempted illegal entry.”

Border agents seized the Taurus, and the driver and passenger were arrested and taken to Imperial County Jail to face human smuggling charges.

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