SAN DIEGO – January was a busy time for one Border Patrol Station in San Diego. In that month alone, the Brown Field Border Patrol station encountered more than 100 smuggling attempts, according to the law enforcement agency.
Agents focused their anti-smuggling efforts on a 25-mile stretch of Highway 94 at state Route 188 in Tecate. They also focused their operations at Otay Lakes Road in Jamul and Chula Vista.
When agents patrolled those areas, they stopped more than 130 vehicles suspected of being involved in human smuggling and arrested more than 150 suspected smugglers, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Out of the 130 vehicles suspected of smuggling humans, seven of the drivers did not pull over to Border Patrol agents, officials said.
Border Patrol listed some of the 130 vehicles that were pulled over:
— Jan. 3
Four people were seen coming out of some dense brush and quickly entering a car that had pulled over on the state Route 94 shoulder, according to Border Patrol. When agents stopped the vehicle, it was carrying a driver, a front-seat passenger and three people laying down in the rear seat. Eventually, all the passengers were arrested because they admitted to illegally entering the United States, officials said. The driver who happened to be a U.S. citizen was also arrested on suspicion of human smuggling, according to Border Patrol. When agents searched the vehicle, they found a handgun in the glove compartment, which was loaded with a high-capacity magazine containing 14 rounds, officials said.
— Jan. 9
A vehicle picked up some people on Otay Lakes Road. When agents pulled over the vehicle, they saw a person sitting on the floor of the front passenger seat trying to hide, according to Border Patrol. In the rear seat, agents could see three more people on top of each other trying to hide as well, officials said. The passengers all admitted to agents that they were illegally entering the country, while the driver was arrested on suspicion of human smuggling, according to Border Patrol. Authorities also discovered that the driver was driving with a suspended driver’s license, and was recently released from jail and on probation for child endangerment and transportation of a controlled substance, officials said. Agents also uncovered body armor in the trunk of the pickup as they were doing a vehicle search.
— Jan. 26
Border Patrol said four people came out of a brush on the roadside of SR-94 and got inside a vehicle. When the driver pulled over on his own, the agents stopped and questioned the passengers. Agents then noticed the rear passenger window was smashed and the ignition system looked damaged, according to Border Patrol. They also found one person lying down in the back seat and three people hidden inside a car trunk, officials said. Two U.S. citizens, the driver and front passenger were arrested on suspicion of human smuggling, Border Patrol said. Authorities later discovered that the vehicle used was stolen and that the driver had an outstanding warrant, according to officials.
In total, agents arrested more than 300 smuggled migrants, three of which were in possession of firearms, according to Border Patrol.