Trucks disguised as border construction vehicles used to smuggle migrants in Arizona, feds say

James Carr, Arizona Republic Published 8:59 a.m. MT April 13, 2020

Two pickup trucks disguised to look like trucks associated with construction of the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border were used to transport migrants into Arizona illegally, federal officials allege.

After observing suspicious activity involving two older, yellow trucks with "SWC Southwest Valley Constructors" logos on the side near Douglas, Border Patrol began to investigate, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Arizona on April 3.

In March, Border Patrol observed a similar truck picking up people and driving back and forth from Douglas and the U.S.-Mexico border with an orange safety flag similar to ones that construction trucks have.

Later in March, Southwest Valley Constructors, which is working to replace barriers along the border in Pima and Cochise counties, told Border Patrol that 10 people had crossed the border from Mexico into Arizona and were picked up by a truck in a parking lot their employees use. Border Patrol contacted the driver and seven people with him in the truck, and determined all of them were in the country illegally.

The driver admitted to being instructed to wait until the time when the construction workers started driving to Douglas, and to drive at the same time as them, according to the complaint.

Southwest Valley Constructors told Border Patrol that their fleet of trucks only included much newer models than those that Border Patrol had witnessed, according to the complaint.

With that information, Border Patrol agents decided to follow the two older trucks with the "SWC" logo on April 1 and attempted to stop them.

The first truck was blocked into an alley that it was driving through by Border Patrol agents, who found Gerado Siqueiros-Molina driving a group of 15 people, all of whom admitted to being illegally inside the U.S., according to the complaint.

Siqueiros-Molina admitted to being a Mexican citizen illegally inside the U.S. and said he arranged to pay $1,000 to be smuggled to Tucson, but said his smugglers offered to charge him $600 less if he would drive the truck, according to the complaint. He said he was instructed to communicate and follow a truck being driven by "Jota Jota," which means JJ in Spanish.