SALTON CITY, Calif. - Border Patrol agents with the Indio Station arrested 14 undocumented immigrants hiding in the bed of a dump truck Thursday morning at the Highway 86 checkpoint.
Agents said the incident occurred at about 4:40 a.m. when a white 1997 Ford dump truck approached the checkpoint. Agents questioned the 36-year-old driver about his immigration status and asked to inspect the truck. The driver consented and was sent to secondary inspection.
That's when agents found the 14 undocumented immigrants in the bed of the truck. Authorities said they were unsecured with no means of safety in the bed of the truck. They were also unable to get out of the truck without help as a heavy duty tarp covered the bed and was securely latched down over the top of the truck, according to the Border Patrol's news release.
"This is an example of the blatant disregard for human life and safety to those being smuggled by these smuggling organizations," said David S. Kim Assistant Chief Patrol Agent. "This could have turned into a very bad situation if the vehicle would have gotten in an accident or left unattended for a long period of time."
Agents said the driver is a Border Crossing card holder. He was taken into custody with the undocumented immigrants; one female and 13 males. The man will be prosecuted for alien smuggling and the 14 others are being processed according to El Centro Sector guidelines.