Deputies from the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 24-year-old man early Sunday morning for allegedly trying to smuggle six migrants in his car.
According to information provided by the Yuma Sector Border Patrol, agents from the Wellton station and troopers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety assisted deputies with the incident.
A state trooper spotted the car – a Ford Fiesta – just after midnight at the Dateland Travel Center, which is located approximately 70 miles east of Yuma along Interstate 8 in Dateland.
When Wellton station agents arrived on scene they determined that the driver of the vehicle was a U.S. citizen and that the six occupants were Mexican nationals who were in the country illegally.
The six migrants were crammed into a vehicle made to fit four passengers.
Two were seated in the front passenger seat and four were in the back, which made wearing seatbelts all but impossible for everyone but the driver.
In addition to arresting the driver, deputies also seized the vehicle.
Wellton station agents apprehended the migrants and returned them to Mexico under title 42, which is a mandate issued by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention that allows Customs and Border Protection to expel undocumented migrants to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in holding facilities.