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Border Patrol: Arizona smuggler had dead body in SUV filled with immigrants

U.S. Border Patrol agents at work during nighttime operations (U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo/Released)

An Arizona man believed to be a mortuary worker is behind bars after he was stopped southeast of Tucson driving an SUV with a dead body and six undocumented immigrants inside, the U.S. Border patrol said.

“The SUV driver, believed to be employee of a Southern Arizona mortuary, was presumably transporting remains while attempting to smuggle illegal border crossers further into the United States,” the federal agency said in a July 16 news release.

The episode unfolded July 13 in Douglas, a border town about 120 miles southeast of Tucson in neighboring Cochise County, the Border Patrol said.

Agents from the Tucson Sector, who stopped a GMC SUV about 6 p.m., found six immigrants hidden in the vehicle, the news release said.

“Agents also discovered a body bag containing a human corpse,” the release continued.

Two 13-year-olds from Douglas also are suspected of playing a role in the caper, the Border Patrol said, but did not provide specifics. The agency said only that the teens were found inside another vehicle near where the SUV had been stopped.

A Cochise County sheriff’s deputy report said the teens left the scene in the Mercury with one of them behind the wheel.

A deputy happened to recognize the driver was wanted on juvenile warrants for alleged drug offenses and for being an “incorrigible,” said sheriff’s spokeswoman Carol Capas.

The wanted boy was arrested and the other was released to his family, authorities said.

The deceased person’s remains were transferred to a mortuary soon after the incident, the border patrol said.

The SUV driver, who is expected to remain in federal custody until his case is decided, was not identified.

The six living SUV passengers were processed for immigration violations, the agency said.


© 2020 The Arizona Daily Star