EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Border agents discovered 12 undocumented immigrants hidden in a shipment of hay in what officials called an “elaborate human smuggling plot.”
A Border Patrol canine alerted agents to he middle part of the hay shipment when the tractor-trailer approached the Interstate 8 checkpoint Thursday near Pine Valley, Calif.
Agents inspected the bails of hay and found 12 Mexican men hiding in voids within the stacks of hay.
Agents determined all 12 were in the country illegally. The driver, a 46-year-old U.S. citizen, faces alien smuggling charges.
Border Patrol officials said the agents safely removed the men from the tractor-trailer and possibly saved their lives.
“Human smugglers have no regard for life,” Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke said in a statement. “This tight space within the haystacks was not ventilated and was not designed with passenger safety in mind. I am proud of our agents. Their dedication to service and the preservation of life prevented serious harm from befalling these individuals.”
The U.S. Border Patrol seized the tractor-trailer.