Authorities arrested two armed U.S. citizens and dozens of illegal immigrants during a traffic stop on Sept. 25 in what is suspected to be a human smuggling case, according to officials.
In a Sept. 29 press release, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said agents in the Tucson sector, assisted by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, “rescued 33 migrants, seized thousands in cash, and arrested two smugglers in possession of firearms.”
A regular traffic stop helped border agents in the sector to recover $16,000 in cash, a group of illegal aliens, and two loaded handguns—one from each stopped vehicle, a Ford and Dodge pickup, authorities said.
Officials said the two vehicles appeared to be traveling together and the Ford was pulling a horse trailer. Upon further investigating, agents “discovered 33 migrants enclosed shoulder to shoulder inside” the trailer.
“Agents arrested the driver of the Ford as well as the driver of a Dodge pickup encountered at the scene,” the release stated, noting that investigators believe the vehicles were “traveling in tandem.”
The drivers, each of the two local U.S. citizens, are facing smuggling charges. They have not been identified by police.
The group of illegal aliens were also arrested at the stop and will be processed for immigration violations, authorities said.
Two armed U.S. citizens smuggling 33 migrants in a #HorseTrailer were arrested by Tucson Sector agents Sunday. @SCCSheriff assisted agents with the stop on SR-82. In addition to the weapons, $16k in cash was seized. #BorderSecurity
— John R. Modlin (@USBPChiefTCA) September 29, 2022
Crisis at the Border
Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, when he loosened and reversed several crucial Trump-era policies designed to stem illegal immigration, there has been a massive influx of illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
More than 186,000 illegal immigrant arrests were made at the southern border in August, up from less than 48,000 in August 2020 and 50,684 arrests made in August 2019, according to CBP data.
According to provisional numbers obtained by The Epoch Times in early September, agents recorded 42,199 illegal immigrants who entered the United States and evaded apprehension, known inside the government as “gotaways.”
Most of the evasions took place in the Tucson, Del Rio, and El Paso sectors. The El Paso sector sits in Texas; the Tucson sector is in Arizona.
Including approximately 900,000 gotaways, a total of 4.9 million illegal aliens crossed the U.S.–Mexico border in the first 18 months of Biden’s presidency, the Federation for American Immigration Reform said in a recent report. It’s impossible to estimate how many illegal aliens entered and weren’t detected.
Epoch Times reporter Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.