Sixteen people have been arrested in what the feds have described as a “brazen” smuggling attempt in which they cut through a portion of the wall along the US-Mexico border and entered into Southern California, according to reports.
Border patrol agents spotted a white Dodge 4500 utility truck crossing into the US near Campo about 3:45 p.m. Wednesday after human smugglers cut a hole in the wall, officials said.
A few minutes later, agents saw a man with a vehicle matching that description trying to cut a lock on the gate of a nearby home with bolt cutters.
“Agents activated their emergency lights and siren to stop the suspect vehicle, but the driver refused to yield and fled,” border agents said.
The truck eventually stopped and the driver and the 15 other people inside the vehicle began running before finally being collared, officials said.
“All 16 admitted to entering the US illegally and were transported to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing,” according to the agency.
Nine of the people were Mexican males ages 15 to 53, five were Mexican women ages 18 to 40 and two were Guatemalan — a 28-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman.
The 27-year-old Mexican driver’s stolen truck was seized and he “will be criminally prosecuted,” officials said.
The breached wall, which is made of old landing mats, was constructed in the 1990s, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
“A vehicle drive-thru, with overloaded and unsecured passengers, particularly in this terrain, can certainly result in a rollover accident with serious injuries and death,” San Diego Sector Interim Chief Douglas Harrison said, according to Fox 5 San Diego.
“The breach of this old landing mat wall is illustrative of the need for more hardened infrastructure with greater impedance and denial capabilities to keep the area secure.”
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