SAN DIEGO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found two women hiding in a specially built compartment in the trunk of an SUV at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, officials said Friday.
Around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, a CBP officer conducting an inspection on a gray 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe noticed the 66-year-old driver looking nervous and referred him aside for a more intensive inspection, according to the agency’s press release. The officer’s human/narcotic detector dog alerted to the underside of the vehicle’s trunk.
When the officers went to check the area, border officials said they found a non-factory compartment in the rear trunk of the vehicle with someone hidden inside, but could not immediately open the locked compartment to get anyone out. The officers were able to help the two individuals out of the compartment by removing the screws and covers.
Officials stated the two women, ages 25 and 37, were both migrants with no status or documents to be able to legally enter the U.S. They will be returned to Mexico, and the driver may be charged on suspicion of smuggling.
“It’s incredibly dangerous for people to be placed inside of a vehicle compartment they can’t get themselves out of,” said Sidney Aki, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego. “These two women were lucky that their attempt to try and enter the U.S. illegally this way didn’t end in serious injury or worse.”