The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said on Thursday that nine Americans were arrested for illegally smuggling 64 people near the Arizona border.
“In addition to securing and protecting our nation’s borders, frontline Border Patrol agents are committed to reducing heat-related injuries and preventing deaths along our borders,” said U.S. Border Patrol Acting Chief Carla L. Provost in a statement. “These rescues are a result of stepped-up enforcement at our immigration checkpoints coupled with our search and rescue efforts that are key to preventing unnecessary loss of life.”
The incidents took place between June 30 and July 1, according to the Border Patrol.
Some of the people were discovered in the sleeper cabs of trucks. Some were stashed with drugs.
Meanwhile, some people were locked in boxcars while others were discovered behind stacks of tires, the agency said.
“On June 30, agents arrested an adult female for attempting to smuggle 10 individuals through a Border Patrol immigration checkpoint. The individuals were discovered in the sleeper cab of the truck after a Border Patrol K-9 alerted to the presence of narcotics and people in the tractor trailer,” the agency noted.
The agency said that it has stepped up its search and rescue efforts to prevent heat-related deaths along the Arizona border as temperatures soar to 115 degrees in some places.
“On July 1, agents arrested two individuals attempting to smuggle 14 people through a Border Patrol immigration checkpoint. The individuals were discovered concealed in the sleeper compartment of the truck. Later that day, agents arrested two people for smuggling 12 people who were locked in the trailer compartment of an 18-wheeler,” officials said.
The smugglers were all handed over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for prosecution, officials said.