Federal investigators are asking the public for tips into the human smuggling operation that brought dozens of migrants through a hole in the U.S.-Mexico Border, leading to a crash that killed 13 people.
The fatal crash happened on March 2 about 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico Border at Calexico and about 100 miles east of San Diego.
U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered a 10-foot section of the border fence had been cut and at least two SUVs had driven northbound through the open section. USBP later located one of the SUVs broken down on Interstate 8 near Holtville, where agents arrested 19 undocumented migrants.
The second SUV, a Ford Expedition filled with Mexican and Guatemalan nationals between the ages of 15 to 53, was located minutes later crushed by a semi-truck hauling two trailers on state Route 115 near Norrish Road.
Deadly Imperial County Crash
Twelve people died at the scene, including the SUV's driver, a man from Mexicali, Mexico, officials said.
“Homeland Security Investigations is conducting a criminal investigation into the human smuggling networks that callously and repeatedly place human lives in danger, such as the events that resulted in death during the March 2 smuggling incident,” said Cardell T. Morant, Special Agent in Charge for HSI in San Diego. “HSI is asking for the public’s help in bringing the people responsible for the activity that led to the tragedy on March 2nd to justice by providing any information."
Individuals who have information can contact the HSI Calexico tip line at (760) 335-5343.
The semi-truck driver, a 69-year-old man from El Centro, also suffered moderate injuries and was transported to Desert Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Mexican and Guatemalan Consulates are assisting family members of those involved in the crash.