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Brazilian man tries to sneak into U.S in gas tank

CALEXICO, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  A car drives along the U.S. - Mexico border wall on November 19, 2014 in Calexico, California. U.S. President Barack Obama plans to announce executive action on immigration reform Thursday Evening.  As many as five million undocumented immigrants could, on a temporary basis, be granted work permits and exempted from deporation. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

CALEXICO, CA - NOVEMBER 19: A car drives along the U.S. - Mexico border wall on November 19, 2014 in Calexico, California. U.S. President Barack Obama plans to announce executive action on immigration reform Thursday Evening. As many as five million undocumented immigrants could, on a temporary basis, be granted work permits and exempted from deporation. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)  (2014 Getty Images)

A man has been charged with trying to sneak a Brazilian man into the United States from Mexico by hiding him in the gasoline tank of an SUV.

Jonathan Pantoja allegedly brought the 38-year-old inside the modified tank of a 2001 Toyota Sequoia early Tuesday at a crossing in Calexico, California. Customs and Border Protection says an imaging device spotted anomalies in the SUV's gas tank and back seats.

A criminal complaint says the driver — a 40-year-old U.S. citizen — told authorities that he smuggled to pay off a $5,000 debt. His attorney didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The complaint says the Brazilian man told authorities he paid $5,800 to get to the border from Brazil and was to pay another $4,000 in Los Angeles.

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