YUMA COUNTY, Ariz. - U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents assigned to the Wellton station stopped separate human smuggling attempts in southwestern Arizona -- all in a single day.
Starting at 2:45 a.m. on June 23, agents stopped a Infiniti sedan with a California license plate on Interstate 8 at the immigration checkpoint following a canine alert. Officials say the male driver and female passenger, both United States citizens, were smuggling a Mexican national. He was identified as Luis Hernandez-Huazo.
"Huazo is an aggravated felon who was convicted of child cruelty that resulted in injury/death in March 2012 in Monterey, California. Hernandez-Huazo faces charges for reentry of an aggravated felon after previously being removed from the U.S.," stated border patrol agent Lindsay Cessna.
About 10 minutes later, agents referred a California-plated Chevrolet Tahoe to a secondary inspection for inspection at the checkpoint.
According to Cessna, agents discovered a male U.S. citizen and a female citizen of El Salvador, who is in the U.S. as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, smuggling four Mexican nationals in the Tahoe.
At 6:30 a.m., agents working along I-8 east of Yuma stopped a California-plated Nissan Quest minivan and found a 20-year-old female U.S. citizen smuggling four Mexican nationals and one El Salvadorian national.
During a fourth stop at Noon, agents assisted a Yuma County Sheriff's deputy with a vehicle stop due to a traffic violation on eastbound I-8. Agents said the California-plated Toyota Highlander SUV driven by a male U.S. citizen had dark tinted windows so the inside of the vehicle wasn't visible, but the 58-year-old driver claimed to be alone.
"A USBP canine handler responded to the stop and conducted a canine sniff of the vehicle," said Cessna.
The canine alerted to the vehicle and, as a result, agents searched the vehicle. Three Mexican nationals were found hiding under clothes and bags on the back seat.
"All of the subjects in these events were arrested for either alien smuggling or for being unlawfully present in the U.S. Most of migrants will be returned to Mexico under the Title 42 directive," stated Cessna.
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