San Diego, California - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Otay Mesa port of entry thwarted a dangerous human-smuggling attempt after discovering an 18-year-old man concealed in a bolted down seat compartment.

The incident occurred at about 12:30 a.m. on November 27, when a CBP canine team was screening vehicles as they were in line to enter the United States and the detector dog alerted to a 2009 Ford Focus. The driver, a 74-year-old male U.S. citizen, was removed from the vehicle and taken into a secure area. A CBP officer drove the vehicle into the vehicle secondary for further examination.

CBP Officers conducted a physical search of the vehicle and discovered a person concealed underneath the front passenger seat in a non-factory compartment. The concealed man attempted to free himself from but could not as the seats were bolted down.

CBP Officers removed the bolts and extracted the man, an 18-year-old Mexican citizen, and escorted him to a secure location for health checks and further processing.  Record checks revealed the man was previously deported in Nov. 2019 after attempting to illegally enter the U.S. by jumping over the U.S./Mexico fence.

“This apprehension comes a day after CBP officers in Calexico rescued a teen from a dashboard compartment,” said Pete Flores, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego “I cannot stress enough the serious consequences that could result from putting their lives in the hands of unscrupulous smugglers, and hence dangerous compartments.  The driver was arrested and later transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await criminal proceedings.

CBP seized the vehicle.

Being smuggled in confined spaces is a dangerous scheme and can lead to serious injuries and or death as in this article from 2014: Human smuggling attempt two dead.