A Brazilian man was caught by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers trying to enter the U.S. illegally from Mexico by hiding in an SUV's gas tank compartment, the agency said Friday.
The incident occurred at about 3:15 a.m. on Tuesday at the Calexico East port of entry in Calexico, California, when a CBP officer pulled over for further examination a 40-year-old male U.S. citizen driving a 2001 Toyota Sequoia, the CBP said.
“While conducting an intensive inspection of the SUV, officers used the port’s imaging system and discovered anomalies in the vehicle’s gas tank and under the rear seats,” the CBP said in a statement. “The officers continued searching the area and discovered a man hidden inside the partially modified gas tank.”
The agency identified the individual as a 38-year-old Brazilian citizen, who was escorted to a secure location for processing. Officers confirmed that the man had no legal ability to enter the United States.
The driver, who lives in Calexico, was arrested and will face federal charges related to the incident.
CBP placed an immigration hold on the Brazilian man and he will be sent back to Brazil at the conclusion of the driver’s criminal proceedings.