Border Patrol agents in southern New Mexico arrested a 33-year-old woman who was allegedly smuggling a Mexican man in the trunk of her car.
The smuggling attempt prompted agents to warn border residents about the dangers of smuggling in extreme weather conditions, particularly the heat. This week, temperatures in the area have been well over 100 degrees, and forecasted to top out at 111 on Friday.
Agent Oscar Cervantes said the weather is a factor when it’s hot or cold. In the heat, he said, smuggled migrants could suffer dehydration, heat stroke and suffocate from a lack of oxygen.
“There are different things that can go wrong being locked up in the trunk of a car,” said Cervantes.
Some smugglers also walk migrants for long distances in remote desert areas, swim across irrigation canals and cram immigrants into other vehicle compartments. But agents said new technology and deception-detection skills help catch people smuggling both humans and contraband.
The woman in Monday’s smuggling attempt was identified as Kristal De Jesus Guzman. She was also arrested on May 11 for attempting to smuggle an undocumented immigrant into Laredo, Texas.
The incident happened when agents at the Border Patrol checkpoint on I-10 outside Las Cruces were conducting immigration inspections. They noticed a vehicle traveling on a county road.
“Nobody takes those county roads. It parallels the checkpoint. It basically goes around the checkpoint and the regular public doesn’t really have access to it,” said Cervantes.
Cervantes said it gave agents reasonable suspicion to stop the driver. When police officers ran her name through a database, they learned Guzman was arrested in May for smuggling.
A canine was used, which alerted the agents to the trunk of the car. Agents found a 25-year-old Mexican national hidden behind boxes and blankets. The man was in good health and did not need medical attention.