Attorney General Bill Barr’s Justice Department is laying down the law at the southern border.
Three Californians are facing criminal charges after they were busted trying to smuggle illegal immigrants into the country, the Washington Examiner reported.
Immigrant smugglers arrested
The brazen operation was intercepted by a surveillance system around 5 a.m. Friday morning, right near a section of border wall between California and Mexico, according to a release from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
Customs and Border Patrol agents performed vehicle inspections on a stake truck and van that were spotted traveling away from the border towards Highway 98, according to Fox News.
When agents stopped the truck on Mount Signal Road, the driver didn’t even try to hide what he was up to, according to authorities.
“Agents approached the driver of the stake truck and conducted an interview. The driver, a 22-year-old U.S. citizen man, admitted to having illegal aliens in the rear cargo area of the truck. Agents searched the truck and discovered 37 subjects attempting to conceal themselves under a black tarp in the bed of the truck,” the agency said.
Authorities later found another 15 migrants in the back of the van, which had been heading eastbound on the highway. “Agents interviewed the occupants and determined all to be adult Mexican nationals illegally present in the United States.”
Cracking down on border crime
All told, 35 men and 17 women were taken into custody. The aliens were brought to the El Centro border station for processing, while the three Americans have been brought up on smuggling charges.
This is just the latest example of smuggling across the U.S.–Mexico border, which has also been a site of human trafficking and drug trafficking for many years that the president has vowed to stop. Some 300,000 migrants have been apprehended at the border since FY2020 started in October, according to Customs and Border Control statistics.
Barr has supported the president’s desire to crack down on crime at the border and in so-called “sanctuary cities,” which critics say are a magnet for illegal immigration.
“Let us state the reality upfront and as clearly as possible,” Barr began. “When we are talking about sanctuary cities, we are talking about policies that are designed to allow criminal aliens to escape,” he said back in February, as Fox News reported.
While there has been a spike in family migration during Trump’s tenure, particularly families from Central America, all of the aliens apprehended in this case were adults, and and all but one were of Mexican origin.