CALEXICO, Calif. - Customs and Border Protection officers discovered a Mexican national hidden inside the dashboard of a small sedan at the downtown Calexico Port of Entry Friday afternoon.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the incident happened before 6:30 p.m. A 57-year-old man was attempting to enter the United States driving a 2012 Nissan March. A CBP officer noticed irregularities with the driver’s travel itinerary and was referred for further examination.
CBP officials said officers used the port’s imaging system and found what they believed to be a human body in the vehicle’s dashboard. The officers searched the area and found an adult man lying horizontally inside the inner frame behind the dashboard.
Officers removed the man, a 21-year-old Mexican citizen, from the dashboard and escorted him to a secure location for further processing and a medical check. The man had no medical conditions that required further attention. Authorities confirmed that the man was illegally attempting to enter the United States and took him into custody.
“As afternoon temperatures continue to rise in the Imperial Valley, this incident underscores the disregard smugglers have for the safety and wellbeing of the people they exploit,” said Area Port Director David Salazar. “Human smuggling is extremely dangerous and I commend our officers not only for their diligence, but for safely bringing this event to a successful law enforcement conclusion.”
The driver, a Mexican citizen and lawful permanent resident of the U.S., was arrested and later transported to the Imperial County Jail to await criminal arraignment on federal human smuggling charges.
The vehicle was confiscated by authorities.