An alert from a K-9 team at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on westbound Interstate 8 in Pine Valley, Calif., led to the discovery of more than 70 people trying to get into the U.S. illegally inside a semi tractor-trailer.
The dog caught the scent of a plastic container in the cab of the truck containing a small amount of white powder, agents said. The driver, a 50-year old Mexican national, claimed the powder was methamphetamine, according to agents. After they found the container, they began searching the rest of the truck and when they opened the trailer doors, agents say they found 53 men and 20 women in the trailer. One of the people in the truck was a Guatemalan national; the others were all from Mexico, officials said.
The driver is in federal custody on smuggling charges.
Agents say this arrest is part of a wave of smuggling attempts using semi tractor-trailers. On March 6, agents reported finding 25 Mexican nationals. On April 29, agents reported arresting 11 Mexican national inside another tractor-trailer.