A surveillance operation conducted on Jan. 10 by U.S. Border Patrol El Centro Sector resulted in the arrest of two U.S. citizens suspected of using aircraft to smuggle illegal aliens out of Imperial Valley, authorities said.
A vehicle occupied by the two suspects in Brawley was pulled over by agents around 2:30 p.m. after agents observed two suspected illegal aliens being dropped off by the vehicle. The two suspected illegal aliens were detained while additional agents followed the vehicle and pulled it over, a press release stated.
Further investigation revealed that one of the suspects in the vehicle is a pilot with an airplane located at the Brawley Municipal Airport, the press release stated. Border Patrol agents determined the suspects were planning to use the Piper aircraft to smuggle illegal aliens, authorities said.
Both suspected smugglers were arrested for alien smuggling, while both the vehicle and the aircraft were seized. The aircraft is the third seized by El Centro Sector Border Patrol in connection with alien smuggling since fiscal year 2010, the press release stated.
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