N.M. border agents find 17 migrants in stifling back of U-Haul truck

New Mexico

Dozens arrested during three-day period in N.M.'s Bootheel

This file photo shows a U.S. Border Patrol unit from the El Paso sector. (Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) ⁠— With only a 2-inch opening for ventilation, 17 undocumented immigrants were being smuggled in the sweltering cargo area of a U-Haul truck Monday in Southern New Mexico, Customs and Border Protection officials said.

Border agents from the El Paso Sector spotted the footprints of several people leading to N.M. Highway 9, where the U-Haul truck had been seen, according to a news release. The agents then spotted the truck heading west and conducted a traffic stop. They found 17 undocumented immigrants inside the trailer and took them to the Deming Border Patrol station for processing. The driver, a U.S. citizen, remains in custody and faces charges of alien smuggling.

In the early morning hours July 20, agents from the Lordsburg station encountered two men on the side of the road near Hachita, New Mexico, an area officials say is known for human smuggling activity. The men told agents they were Mexican citizens in the U.S. illegally. According to a CBP news release, one of the men had a lengthy criminal history, including a felony conviction for robbery with a weapon, as well as arrests for threatening a person and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The 37-year-old man had been previously deported and faces charges of illegal re-entry.

On June 19, agents apprehended 88 undocumented immigrants in an area near the Antelope Wells Port of Entry. The majority of the people were from Central America, and many needed immediate medical care, officials said. The group included family groups with small children as well as unaccompanied juveniles. All were medically cleared, officials said.

Officials said that within the group of 88 was a man accused of raping a child under the age of 14 and aggravated kidnapping in Ford County, Kansas. The 30-year-old from Guatemala was with a minor child.

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