Federal agents found six Chinese citizens hidden inside a moving van, behind a false wall, when the truck was stopped at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, authorities said Saturday.
The 23-year-old driver, a United States citizen, was taken into custody, Customs and Border Protection officials said in a statement. The six Chinese nationals also were held pending criminal and immigration proceedings.
The moving truck came across the border from Mexico about noon on Thursday. A customs officer who was inspecting vehicles as they waited in line noticed the truck’s rear door was ajar. A dog used in inspections reacted to the back wall of the truck, authorities said.
Officers used a screwdriver to pry open the wall and found a person behind it. The driver was taken out of the truck and detained while officers drove the vehicle to a secure location. They removed the false wall and found the six people who were being smuggled, officials said.
“We routinely encounter persons from all over the world attempting to enter our country illegally,” Pete Flores, Customs and Border Protection director of field operations for San Diego, said in a statement. “This incident serves as another example of the inhumane tactics smugglers will utilize in order to circumvent our laws. Fortunately in this instance, no one was seriously injured.”
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