EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A pair of sex offenders are accused of smuggling immigrants through Southern California, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release.
U.S. Border Patrol agents from the El Centro Sector stopped a vehicle they suspected of being used to smuggle humans on Tuesday on Interstate 8, east of Ocotillo, Calif.
Inside the vehicle were five Mexican nationals, and a 44-year-old U.S. citizen behind the wheel. They were taken to an immigration rally point, where agents determined that all five passengers were illegally present in the country. Agents immediately sent them back to Mexico.
Agents also learned that the driver on Feb. 1, 1999, had been convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison for having sex with a minor in Santa Maria, Calif. He now faces alien-smuggling charges.
A similar incident occurred on May 19 in El Centro, Calif., when border agents encountered a vehicle with three people inside.
The driver, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen, lured a minor in 2016 in Imperial County, Calif., and was sentenced to 100 days in jail and three years of probation.
Agents returned the passengers to Mexico after determining that they were in the country illegally.
The driver faces alien-smuggling charges.
According to a CBP news release, in Fiscal 2020, border agents from the El Centro Sector arrested and/or removed 36 individuals who were either convicted or wanted on sex-offense charges after they illegally entered the U.S.