When you think of dump trucks, you normally don’t think of human smuggling.
But think again.
Border patrol agents in Southern California recently arrested a dump truck driver along with 14 illegal immigrants he was trying to smuggle into the U.S. under a tarp in the bed of his truck, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Agents reported that at around 4:40 a.m. last Thursday a white 1997 Ford dump truck approached the Highway 86 checkpoint in Salton City about 50 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.
After questioning the driver as to his immigration status, agents got permission from him to more closely inspect the truck. After lifting a heavy tarp across the bed, officers found 14 undocumented immigrants–13 men and one woman–lying down in the bed of the truck.
“This is an example of the blatant disregard for human life and safety to those being smuggled by these smuggling organizations,” said David S. Kim assistant chief patrol agent. “This could have turned into a very bad situation if the vehicle would have gotten in an accident or left unattended for a long period of time.”
The driver, a 36-year-old Border Crossing Card holder, was taken into custody and charged with alien smuggling.
Since President Trump signed the Executive Orders regarding immigration enforcement priorities, ICE has arrested more than 41,000 individuals nationwide who are either known or suspected of being in the country illegally, a nearly 40 percent increase over the same period in 2016. Almost 75 percent of those arrested during this period in 2017 are convicted criminals, with offenses ranging from homicide and assault to sexual abuse and drug-related charges, an ICE press release states.