NOGALES, Ariz. – Arizona authorities stopped a refrigerated truck hauling fruit and found almost 100 illegal immigrants — some as young as 9 — crammed inside the trailer in near-freezing temperatures, officials said Thursday.
A tip from federal agents led an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer to make the stop for an equipment violation Wednesday night on Interstate 19, north of the border city of Nogales.
During a search of the trailer, the officer discovered 96 immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala in the trailer, which had an inside temperature of 34 degrees and was also carrying 17 pallets of mangoes, authorities said. But the immigrants hadn't been in the trailer very long and no one was injured, the department said.
Another undocumented immigrant was discovered in the truck's cab. A breakdown of the number and children and adults was not immediately available. The children ranged in age from 9 to 12.
The undocumented immigrants will be sent back to their home countries, officials said.
Authorities said the driver of the trailer — Luis Antonio Mendoza, 26, of Fresno, Calif. — was arrested and charged Thursday with conspiracy to transport illegal immigrants for profit.