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California Border Patrol recover 17 migrants after smugglers crash pickup truck

December 27, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
California Border Patrol recover 17 migrants after smugglers crash pickup truck

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California Border Patrol agents in California recovered 17 migrants and apprehended two others after the smugglers crashed their pickup truck.

Agents in East County, California, were signaled to the presence of a Chevrolet Silverado truck near the Mexican border. As the officers responded, they saw the pickup getting on Interstate 8. A short chase concluded as the driver smashed the pickup truck into a drainage ditch, Breitbart Texas reported.

The incident, which transpired at approximately 5:30 pm on Thursday, was extremely dangerous as the bed of the pickup was filled with immigrants.

Smugglers concealed the human shipment in the bed of the truck under a large sheet of plywood. None of them were injured in the crash.

In addition to those bundled like sardines in the bed of the pickup, others who were being smuggled were stashed in the truck’s cabin. The driver and one of the passengers were identified as being involved in the smuggling enterprise and were taken into custody. All 19 individuals in the truck were Mexican nationals.

According to Breitbart Texas,  the driver and one of the passengers were identified as being involved in the smuggling enterprise and were taken into custody. All 19 individuals in the truck were Mexican nationals.

A records check at the California Border Patrol station revealed that the driver is a felon who was previously deported. The 31-year-old Mexican national was extradited after serving a 70-month prison sentence after he tried to run over a Border Patrol agent during a human smuggling attempt in 2008. He was apprehended and is now facing charges of human trafficking and illegal re-entry after being deported as a convicted felon.

His co-conspirator in the human smuggling attempt, a 29-year-old Mexican, was also taken into custody and will possibly face charges of human trafficking.

Federal officials confiscated the pickup, and the 17 Mexican nationals who were being smuggled into the U.S. have been transferred for processing and possible removal.

Border Patrol officials said that they believe this smuggling attempt is linked to Tomas Lara-Sanchez, who is allegedly the head of a transnational criminal enterprise that conducts smuggling attempts in East County.

CBP also reported that the Tomas Lara-Sanchez criminal organization is believed to have been implicated in a triple-smuggling incident. Officials referred to the load of “human contraband” as a “triple incursion” across the Mexican border.

Agents at the Boulevard Station used a “vehicle immobilization device” to stop the car. The driver of a white Toyota Sequoia pulled over, but two other vehicles fled the scene. After a short pursuance where the other two drivers tried to get back into Mexico, Border Patrol agents managed to stop the fleeing vehicles.

Officers seized the three vehicles, and 25 individuals packed into the three vehicles were also apprehended. Five additional people successfully avoided the agents and escaped back to Mexico. The drivers may face prosecution on charges related to human trafficking.

Pictures of Lara-Sanchez now appears on posters in the area under a CBP most wanted suspected smugglers program titled “Se Busca Información.” The program uses flyers and billboards that advertise the faces of some of the most infamous suspected smugglers in the various Border Patrol areas where the program has been implemented.

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