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Border Patrol nets 15 arrests in 2 human smuggling busts

Border Patrol agents made 15 human smuggling arrests Wednesday night.

SAN DIEGO — Fifteen people were arrested in connection with two human smuggling attempts near the U.S.-Mexico border Wednesday, according to U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Agents said they spotted one group of people running from the border into the U.S. near the Boulevard area around 7:30 p.m.

The group jumped into a red Ford, many hiding in the truck’s cab and bed, and began driving away. The truck kept driving when agents tried to stop it, initiating a short chase that ended along Tierra Del Sol Road when agents damaged at least one of the truck’s tires using a tire deflation device.

The driver, a 20-year-old U.S. citizen, was arrested and charged with human smuggling. Agents said Friday the 11 Mexican nationals found inside the truck — four men, six women and a 15-year-old girl — entered the country illegally and were processed for removal.

Around 10 p.m. Wednesday, Border Patrol agents came into contact with another U.S. citizen accused of attempted human smuggling when they stopped a gray Toyota Corolla at a checkpoint in Jamul. Authorities said the 18-year-old driver stopped at the checkpoint but fled once Border Patrol agents began asking questions.

The Corolla then led agents on a chase along state Route 94, stopping briefly to let two men jump out of the trunk.

Agents stopped to collect the men, both of whom were later identified as Mexican nationals who had entered the U.S. illegally. The agents then went on to pursue the Corolla until it stopped near Melody Street.

The driver of the Corolla was arrested. Both of the men who had been hiding in the car’s trunk were taken into custody and processed for removal.

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