A man faces a federal charge after Hurricane police say they caught him smuggling 11 people into the United States from Mexico.
The man, who told investigators he too is in the country illegally, was charged in U.S. District Court in Utah on Wednesday with one count of transporting undocumented immigrants.
On Nov. 26, a Hurricane police officer stopped the man for traffic violations, when he found 11 others in the Toyota Sequoia, according to the charges. The sport-utility vehicle had an after-market air suspension system installed that made the Sequoia appear to ride at a normal level despite increased weight.
Police and a special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security arrived and interviewed the 12 people. The driver admitted that he knew all of his passengers were undocumented immigrants and had told them not to get out of the SUV since they did not have papers, the charges state.
The driver also told investigators that he had also been deported one time before.
All of the passengers said in interviews that they had paid between $2,000 and $4,700 to be smuggled across the border some paying in full, others still owing the rest when they arrived at their destination.