The tractor trailer loaded with hay bales in which the immigrants were hidden. Photo courtesy of the Border Patrol

Border Patrol agents assigned to the Interstate 8 checkpoint near Pine Valley arrested 12 undocumented immigrants who were being smuggled inside hay stacks on a tractor-trailer.

The agency reported that the incident occurred Thursday afternoon when the truck stopped at the checkpoint and a Border Patrol K-9 alerted officers. When some of the bales were removed, agents found the Mexican men.

The truck driver, a 46-year-old U.S. citizen, was booked on charges of alien smuggling.

“Human smugglers have no regard for life,” said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke. “This tight space within the hay-stacks was not ventilated and was not designed with passenger safety in mind. I am proud of our agents. Their dedication to service and the preservation of life prevented serious harm from befalling these individuals.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.