Immigrants Found in U-Haul Truck, with Temperatures Inside Approaching 180 Degrees

Temperatures inside a U-Haul truck where smugglers stashed up to 20 undocumented immigrants might have reached 180 degrees, which forced Pinal County authorities to airlift two of the immigrants to the hospital.

On Sunday afternoon, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office responded to a call near the Bowlins Travel Center near Interstate 10 and Picacho Peak. The caller said a moving truck had parked in the travel center, and when the driver and passenger opened the back door, several people emerged from inside and fell out.

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Some of the people ran toward the desert, but most were too weak and sat or stood next to the truck.

When emergency responders arrived, they treated the group for dehydration, fatigue, and some who had heat stroke which caused vomiting, loss of bowel control, and unconsciousness.

Two needed to be airlifted because of their critical condition, and ambulances carried six others to local hospitals.

The immigrants told deputies they each paid $5,000 to be smuggled to Phoenix, and a man and woman had picked them up in Douglas. The moving truck had two mattresses laid on the floor, and what looks to be a bucket in the back corner.

Border Patrol says it chased after and captured the people who had run into the desert. They were all taken to the Casa Grande Border Patrol station to be interviewed.

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Weston Phippen
Contact: Weston Phippen