Agents capture man transporting 30 migrants in stolen pickup truck

Border Crime

Border officials concerned about risk of COVID-19 spread as smugglers stuff unprotected individuals, families inside vehicles

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A call by a concerned citizen helped U.S. Border Patrol agents in Douglas, Ariz., apprehend 30 unauthorized migrants packed into the cab and the back of a stolen pickup.

The call came in around 7 a.m. on Monday, and Tucson Sector agents patrolling East Douglas were able to locate the Ford F-250 truck on a dirt road.

The agents approached the pickup to make an immigration stop, but the driver headed toward the driveway of a nearby house and proceeded to flee on foot through the neighborhood, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release.

The agents found 30 men, women and children in the pickup and determined that they were all Mexican nationals without authorization to be in the United States, CBP said.

They were all sent back to Mexico under Title 42 authority, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order that allows border agents to speedily deport unauthorized migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a thorough search, the Border Patrol located the driver and took him into custody. A records check revealed the truck was reported stolen in the Phoenix area. The name and other information on the driver was not immediately available.

“Smugglers have long disregarded the safety of migrants. Now, during the pandemic, they not only risk the lives of migrants, they risk all of our lives by shoving them into vehicles without social distancing, without facial masks, and without any regard for the exposure of COVID-19 to other migrants and public at large, ” said Tucson Sector Chief Roy Villareal.

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