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Two juveniles saved from human trafficking

July 3, 2018

YUMA, Arizona Border Patrol agents assigned to the Yuma Central Processing Center identified two unaccompanied alien children believed to be victims of human trafficking. On Sunday, July 1 at approximately 9:30 a.m., a Yuma Station Border Patrol agent arrested eight subjects who surrendered after they illegally crossed into the U.S. near the San Luis Port of Entry. All eight were determined to be Guatemalan nationals and were transported to the Yuma Central Processing Center.

A Border Patrol agent later interviewed one of the subjects, a 16-year-old male, who claimed that both of his parents were still in Guatemala. The juvenile gave the agent a written phone number for a person who he claimed was a relative living in the U.S. The agent called the number and spoke to a female who claimed to be the relative. After questioning, the agent was able to establish that the female was not in fact a relative and was impersonating one in hopes of having the juvenile released to her. The juvenile eventually admitted that the woman was not a relative, and that his parents had arranged for him to be smuggled from Guatemala to Michigan in order to perform unspecified work for an unidentified person.

Agents later spoke to a second Guatemalan juvenile from the original group of eight, a 17-year-old male. The second minor had an almost identical story as the 16-year-old to include the same alleged relative and phone number.

Both juveniles were processed as unaccompanied alien children.

All persons, drugs and vehicles are processed per Yuma Sector guidelines. Federal law allows agents to charge individuals by complaint, a method that allows the filing of charges for criminal activity without inferring guilt.

Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents effectively combat smuggling organizations attempting to illegally transport people and contraband through southwestern Arizona and California. Citizens can help the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling 1-866-999-8727 toll-free to report suspicious activity. Callers can remain anonymous.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP strives to keep terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

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