U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested more than a dozen people in an alleged smuggling operation Wednesday afternoon after a large hole was found in the fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.
At around 3:45 p.m., agents were alerted of a white Dodge 4500 utility truck that crossed into the Campo area from Mexico through a hole in the old landing mat border fencing.
By 4 p.m., agents said they saw a man cutting the lock of resident’s private gate with bolt cutters. The man was with the described utility truck, which held 15 other passengers.
Border Patrol said when agents attempted to pull the truck over, the driver refused and entered into a short pursuit.
“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,” said San Diego Sector Interim Chief Douglas Harrison.
Eventually, the driver stopped the truck and fled on foot with the 15 other passengers, according to Border Patrol.
Agents arrested all 16 people involved and transported them to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing.
In total, Border Patrol said the group was made up of nine men and five women from Mexico and a man and woman from Guatemala, with ages ranging from as young as 15 and as old as 53.
Agents said the driver, a 27-year-old from Mexico, will face criminal charges.
To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.