Suspected Human Smuggler Flees on Horseback from Border Agents in Arizona

by RANDY CLARK 5 Feb 2023

During a search of a livestock trailer being pulled through a Border Patrol interior immigration checkpoint in Arizona, a suspected human smuggler made an unsuccessful attempt to flee from the scene on horseback. The incident happened on Saturday as agents discovered seven migrants hidden in a compartment covered by bails of hay in the trailer being pulled by the alleged smuggler.

The human smuggling suspect, a lawfully admitted permanent resident immigrant, removed the saddled horse from the trailer prior to the search. When agents found the hidden migrants, the suspect jumped onto his horse and began his escape attempt from the checkpoint located on Arizona State Route 286.

A suspected human smuggler fled on horseback after agents found a group of migrants hidden in a horse trailer. (U.S. Border Patrol/Tucson Sector)

The manís attempt to flee from authorities was short-lived and as pursuing Border Patrol agents quickly took him into custody. The area surrounding the checkpoint is flat desert scrub brush and offers little ability for concealment. The checkpoint is slightly more than 20 miles from the small border community of Sasabe, Arizona.

The Border Patrol operates several highway checkpoints in the Tucson Sector, including the State Route 286 checkpoint. Situated on heavily trafficked roadways, the immigration checkpoints serve to deter smugglers from using the most common routes of egress from border communities. The Border Patrol agents assigned to inspection duties at the checkpoints frequently make arrests for other crimes as well, including narcotics interdictions.

U.S. Border Patrol/Tucson Sector

In December, one agent was critically injured when an impaired motorcyclist crashed into the inspection booth at a neighboring checkpoint in the sector. Border Patrol agents in the sector, like elsewhere along the southern border, have experienced a sharp increase in migrant crossings and human smuggling.

Within the first two days of February, 1,800 migrants were apprehended within the sector, according to Border Patrol officials. Ten of these were migrants with existing criminal records in the United States. In addition, nine human smuggling attempts were thwarted and 125 migrant rescues were performed by the agents during the same timeframe.

The man now faces federal charges of human smuggling. The suspectís vehicle and trailer are also subject to seizure and forfeiture.