ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Border Patrol agents working in New Mexico discovered 17 migrants in a “sweltering” U-Haul truck Monday on N.M. 9 near Deming.
Agents spotted the truck after following a set of footprints from the border up to the highway where a U-Haul truck had been spotted headed west in the remote location. Agents stopped the vehicle and with the help of a canine unit found the 17 people in the back of the truck. All were adult men, according to officials.
“Border Patrol agents noted that the only ventilation in the sweltering cargo area for all 17 illegal aliens was a 2-inch opening at the rear door,” the Border Patrol said in a statement.
The migrants and driver were taken to the Deming Border Patrol station for processing. The driver is a U.S. citizen and remains in custody, pending charges for “alien smuggling.”
The past few days have been busy for Border Patrol in New Mexico, especially in the Bootheel region. On Friday, agents took 88 migrants into custody near the Antelope Wells border crossing.
“The majority of individuals from this group were from Central America, many in the group immediately claiming the need for medical care. All were medically cleared without issue despite the high temperatures,” according to the Border Patrol.
“The group included family groups with small children as well as unaccompanied juveniles that continue to put their trust and money in smuggling organizations while undertaking the dangerous journey,” according to Border Patrol.
Record checks revealed a 30-year-old father traveling with a child from Guatemala had an outstanding warrant from Ford County, Kansas, for rape of a child under age 14 and aggravated kidnapping, according to Border Patrol officials.
Early Saturday, Border Patrol agents from the Lordsburg station patrolling near Hachita arrested two undocumented immigrants from Mexico on the side of a road in an area known for human smuggling.
According to the Border Patrol, “record checks revealed that one of the adult males had a lengthy criminal history including a conviction for robbery with a weapon, a first-degree felony, as well as arrests for various offenses, including threatening a person, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.” The 37-year-old man from Mexico was previously deported, and is now facing criminal prosecution for “illegal re-entry.”
Earlier this year, New Mexico’s remote Bootheel was a busy location for the Border Patrol as large groups of migrants, including many families, arrived at the border near Antelope Wells. Many turned themselves in to agents and asked for asylum. But in recent months the activity has tapered off.