Border Patrol camera operators spotted a large group of migrants on February 20 who illegally entered California by illegally crossing through a compromised section of border wall, according to information obtained from San Diego Sector Border Patrol officials. The operators observed a group of six human smuggling vehicles loading up the migrants just north of the secondary border wall.
The smugglers began to flee as Border Patrol agents arrived on the scene. The agents attempted to pursue the fleeing smugglers and observed one of the drivers entering the 905 freeway against the flow of traffic. The pursuit became more dangerous as a driver of a Toyota RAV-4 swerved from lane to lane, nearly striking a Border Patrol vehicle, officials reported.
The RAV-4 eventually struck the center median and became disabled in National City, California. The occupants of the SUV bailed out and agents engaged in a foot pursuit.
Another agent successfully stopped a black Chevrolet Tahoe. The other vehicles managed to escape.
Agents arrested 16 people in the two vehicles. The agents identified the two drivers as U.S. citizens and the 14 migrants as Mexican nationals illegally present in the United States, the report continues.
Agents continued searching for four additional smuggling vehicles. Those are identified as a white Volkswagen Jetta, a white Lexus IS300, a black Mercedes sedan, and a red Kia sedan that are believed to be involved in what officials described as a “brazen smuggling event.”
“These smugglers endangered the lives of these migrants, the traveling public, and our agents,” San Diego Sector Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke said in a written statement. “I would implore anyone with knowledge of this incident to come forward and help us bring these criminals to justice.”
Officials said the driver of the Mercedes is thought to be a fugitive who is currently out of jail on a bond. The bondsman is searching for the alleged human smuggler following the fugitive’s removal of an ankle monitor. The bondsman tracked the man to an Otay Mesa neighborhood where he disappeared and remains on the run.
The agents transported the 14 Mexican nationals to a processing station for removal to Mexico.