Two teenagers were arrested after being caught with 23 illegal border crossers outside of Douglas on July 8, authorities said.
According to a press release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol agents from the Tucson Sector conducted an immigration related traffic stop on a semi tractor-trailer near mile marker 371 on state Route 80 around 10 p.m. Agents arrested 22 Mexican nationals and one Guatemalan national in the process, ranging in age from 16 to 69, who were illegally present in the United States.
One Mexican national in the group was processed for a history of extensive immigration violations, according to the release. The remaining migrants were deported from the United States via Title 42 authority. The U.S. citizen driver and passenger, both juveniles, were arrested.
Criminal organizations have been known to target vulnerable populations, including the youth in border communities, to facilitate human and narcotics smuggling.
Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector Border Patrol continue to combat what they describe as a “dangerous trend” through information and education geared towards children and their parents via the T.E.A.M. (Together Educating and Mentoring) Kids Program that show Mexican cartels increasingly using American children as young as 12 to smuggle drugs and weapons across the United States border.