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Border Patrol finds 17 migrants in U-Haul truck on New Mexico border highway

A Customs and Border Protection truck patrols the border fence east of Otay Mesa outside San Diego in April 2017. (Alejandro Tamayo/San Diego Union Tribune/TNS)

Border Patrol agents found 17 undocumented immigrants in the back of a sweltering U-Haul truck on Monday in Southern New Mexico, officials said.

The smuggling attempt was discovered when agents spotted several shoe prints leading from the border to Highway 9, where a U-Haul truck had been seen, a Border Patrol news release stated.

Highway 9 runs along the border from Santa Teresa to Columbus and then west of Hachita, New Mexico.

Agents found the migrants in the U-Haul after stopping the truck heading west on Highway 9. The only ventilation was a two-inch opening on the rear door, officials said.

The migrants were taken to the Deming Border Patrol station for processing. The truck’s driver, who is a U.S. citizen, was arrested on suspicion of human smuggling.

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The driver’s name was not released.

88 migrants detained in Antelope Wells

In other border enforcement activity, agents took into custody a group of 88 migrants Friday near the Antelope Wells port of entry in the Bootheel of New Mexico, officials said.

The undocumented migrants were mostly from Central America and included families with small children. Many asked for medical care, were checked and were medically cleared, officials said.

The group included a 30-year-old Guatemalan man traveling with his child. The Border Patrol said that a check found the man was wanted in Kansas on a warrant on a charges of child rape and aggravated kidnapping.

The remote Antelope Wells port of entry has been a busy border crossing point for Central American migrants seeking asylum.

In a separate case Saturday, a previously deported undocumented Mexican migrant, who had been convicted of armed robbery, was among two migrants that agents from Lordsburg arrested after finding them on the side of a road near Hachita, officials said

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© 2019 the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.