California border officers found man hidden in seat of car in 'inhumane' smuggling act

CALEXICO, Calif. -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the downtown port of entry in Calexico, California found a man concealed inside the rear seat of a vehicle early Monday, March 9.

CBP officials said an 18-year-old woman driving a black Mitsubishi was arrested just after 1 a.m. when she arrived at the port of entry. The CBP officer at the booth referred the vehicle and driver for a more in-depth examination, according to a news release.

A CBP K-9 team screened the vehicle and the detector dog alerted positive to the vehicle’s rear seat.

CBP officers searched the rear seat and discovered a 48-year-old man from Mexico hidden within a non-factory compartment. Officers extracted the man from the compartment and escorted him into a secure area for further processing.

The driver, a U.S. citizen, was arrested.

“The primary focus of our national security mission is to protect the American homeland from all threats,” said CBP Director of Field Operations for San Diego, Pete Flores. “Although we routinely encounter individuals attempting to enter our country illegally, this incident serves as another example of the inhumane tactics human smugglers will utilize in order to circumvent our laws.”