Human smugglers cut a hole big enough to drive a truck through in the wall on the United States-Mexico border on Wednesday.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the smugglers drove a Dodge utility truck through the hole near Campo, California, about 80 kilometers east of San Diego, around 3:45pm on Wednesday.
Federal officials said they spotted a man with a truck matching the description attempting to cut through a private fence with bolt cutters not long after.
“Agents activated their emergency lights and siren to stop the suspect vehicle, but the driver refused to yield and fled,” said CBP agents.
But the man and the 15 passengers he was transporting were arrested after a short chase.
“All 16 admitted to entering the U.S. illegally and were transported to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing,” said border agents involved in the arrests.
The group included nine Mexican men aged 15-35, five Mexican women aged 18-40, and two Guatemalan citizens, a 29-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man.
The truck was reported stolen and seized by CBP officials.
CBP spokesman Douglas Harrison released a statement claiming that the “breach of this old landing mat wall is illustrative of the need for more hardened infrastructure with greater impedance and denial capabilities to keep this area secure.”
He added that a “vehicle drive-thru, with overloaded and unsecured passengers, particularly in this terrain, can certainly result in a rollover accident with serious injuries and death.”