Border Patrol finds 55 illegal immigrants in a refrigerated truck

2:17 p.m. August 30, 2005

EL CENTRO – Fifty-five illegal immigrants from Mexico were found in a refrigerated truck with an internal temperature of only a few degrees above freezing, the U.S. Border Patrol said Tuesday.
The migrants had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border near Yuma, Ariz., Monday and had been in the truck only a half-hour or so when they were found, said Border Patrol Agent Amber Galloway.

The men and women appeared to be in good health, Galloway said. They were being held at the Calexico, Calif., Border Patrol station where they will be processed and returned to Mexico with a warning.

A Border Patrol agent made the discovery shortly after 11 p.m. Monday as he grew suspicious while questioning the truck driver at Border Patrol checkpoint along westbound Interstate 8 near Winterhaven, about 150 miles east of San Diego.

Peering into an access port to view the contents of the trailer, the agent noticed clothing and saw something move.

The trailer was hauling a load of lettuce along with its illegal cargo of people and the internal temperature was set at 37 degrees.

Truck driver Miguel Angel Quintero Ramos, a legal U.S. resident, was arrested for alien smuggling.

Carl L. McClafferty, the chief patrol agent in the El Centro sector, called the incident "an example of how smugglers, literally, treat the people in their trust like nothing more than a commodity." ... found.html