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31 immigrants found hiding in Brawley drop house

June 04, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — The U.S. Border Patrol's anti-smuggling unit, acting on information from the Brawley Police Department, broke up a "drop house" here Sunday used to hide illegal immigrants.

It was the fourth drop house found here in recent weeks.

Thirty-one undocumented immigrants, 30 men and a woman, were taken into custody at the house at 134 1/2 B St.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Arturo Sandoval said agents did not find a smuggler in the house and the immigrants reported they had been left in the house for a full day without food or water.

Sandoval said despite that the group members were in good condition.

Prior to Sunday's action, agents had found 28 immigrants hiding in the Fair Haven apartment complex at 444 H St. in Brawley on May 24.

Border Patrol Agent Dionicio Delgado said officials did not think there was a smuggler among those taken into custody.

He had said it is normal for smugglers to stay away from the "drop houses" because of the chance of being caught.

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That case came after the Border Patrol broke up two drop houses in Brawley on May 15 and 16 and took into custody 38 immigrants.

The first group was taken into custody at a house at 641 Stanley Place. There were 16 immigrants found and two cars were seized.

On May 16, the Border Patrol found 22 immigrants at a house at 276 B St. One vehicle was seized there.

Border Patrol officials are asking anyone with information on suspected drop houses to call (800) 901-2003.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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