Published: 11.28.2008

Border Patrol detains Chinese southwest of Tucson
14 picked up in 2 incidents
By Brady McCombs
U.S. Border Patrol agents have apprehended 14 illegal immigrants from China in the past week along Arizona’s stretch of U.S.-Mexican border near Sasabe.
On Wednesday at 8 a.m., agents noticed a suspicious Dodge pickup truck driving north on Arizona 286, said Mike Scioli, Border Patrol Tucson Sector spokesman. After observing abnormal behavior by the driver, agents turned on their lights and sirens and tried to pull the truck over. When the truck stopped, the driver, a Mexican man, fled the scene.
Officers aboard a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine helicopter helped locate and arrest the driver, Scioli said. Inside the truck, agents found six Chinese illegal immigrants, he said.
Two days earlier on the same highway, Arizona 286, agents stopped a van with a Budweiser logo painted on the side carrying 13 illegal immigrants. Eight of the 13 were from China, Scioli said.
Agents questioned the illegal immigrants about their journey before setting them up for formal deportation to China, Scioli said. The group caught on Wednesday told agents they made contact with the smuggler from China, and that the smuggler made all the arrangements.
While it is not unheard of for agents to apprehend Chinese illegal immigrants, getting two groups in one week is rare, Scioli said. They pay as much as $20,000 per person to be smuggled into the United States, he said. In comparison, illegal immigrants from Mexico usually pay between $1,000 - $2,000 per person.
Both drivers, Mexicans, were arrested and are being charged with illegal immigrant smuggling. Both vehicles were seized.
Contact reporter Brady McCombs at 573-4213 or