Customs and Border Protection
The compartment in which two women hid while trying to enter the U.S. illegally. Photo credit: Screen shot, cbp.gov

Customs and Border Protection officers in San Ysidro arrested a suspected smuggler this week after discovering two women in a hidden compartment in the trunk of a vehicle.

The compartment was screwed shut, with the two women unable to get out
without help from the outside.

“It’s incredibly dangerous for people to be placed inside of a vehicle compartment they
can’t get themselves out of,” said Sidney Aki, director of field operations for CBP in San
Diego.
“These two women were lucky that their attempt to try and enter the U.S. illegally
this way didn’t end in serious injury or worse.”

On Wednesday, at about 5:30 p.m., a 66-year-old male U.S. citizen arrived at the San Ysidro Port of Entry driving a gray 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. The CBP officer conducting the inspection noticed that the man looked nervous and referred him aside for a closer look.

A CBP officer with a human/narcotics detector dog then screened the vehicle, and the dog
alerted to the underside of the car’s trunk. Officers checked and found a non-factory
compartment in the rear of the trunk with people hidden inside. They could not, however,
immediately open the compartment to help them out.

Officers removed the screws and covers for the compartment and helped free two women, Mexican citizens aged 25 and 37, from the compartment.

The women, with no status or documents to legally enter the U.S., will be returned to Mexico. The driver will face smuggling charges.