Agents find suspected smugglers, 11 people hiding in SUVs

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SAN DIEGO — Border Patrol agents arrested two men they spotted near the border in East County allegedly trying to smuggle people into the U.S. last weekend.

Agents said they noticed an SUV sitting fewer than 100 yards north of the border Saturday on Forrest Gate Road in Campo, east of Tecate. When agents approached the vehicle, they found six people hiding inside the SUV who admitted entering the U.S. illegally, USBP said. Border Patrol said a U.S. citizen with the group admitted the SUV was his and was also taken into custody.

While agents were dealing with the first vehicle, they noticed another SUV nearby. In that car, they ended up finding another five people who admitted being in the U.S. illegally, plus another U.S. citizen suspected of smuggling them in.

Agents took all 11 undocumented people into custody for eventual removal from the country, while they processed the American citizens for charges in the U.S., Border Patrol said.

Authorities said the alleged smugglers turned out to have criminal histories. One of them, a 34-year-old man, had served a 16-month prison sentence for burglary and assault with a firearm. The other suspect, a 38-year-old man, had served a 10-year prison sentence for a carjacking in 2003.

Both men were placed in Department of Homeland Security custody and will face federal charges, USBP said.

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