United States Border Patrol agents already suspected a motorist of hauling illegal narcotics from Mexico, but discovered a surprise when they stopped the man after he panicked in a typical, Southern California highway traffic jam near San Clemente: two, non-English speaking Chinese nationals.
In response, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security filed criminal charges this month against Christopher Berver for “transportation of illegal aliens” into the country.
Clandestine government surveillance images showed Berver entered the U.S. at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in a Nissan seemingly without passengers on March 23.
That’s when he triggered “positive alerts for narcotics smuggling,” but nonetheless wasn’t detained, according to court records.
On occasion, Border Patrol officers trick drug couriers into believing they’ve successfully evaded detection so detectives can gain intelligence on organized crime syndicates’ transportation routes, financial transactions, storage facilities and associates hidden throughout the nation.
Agents assert that Berver, whose age and city of residence weren’t revealed, eventually spotted their surveillance, felt trapped by heavy congestion and drove erratically over three I-5 lanes in near standstill traffic in hopes of eluding them.
Once stopped and given a Miranda warning, the motorist, who doesn’t speak English, admitted he’d agreed to smuggle drugs but didn’t know his employer had also placed two Chinese men, Yi Chan Liu and Shou Zhen Lin, in the trunk of the car until he entered San Diego County, according to court records.
One of the foreign nationals told agents their contact in Mexico agreed to provide U.S. entry for $30,000.
It’s unknown which judge inside Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse will preside in the case.
Federal agents did not disclose the status of the two Chinese men.