U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers made a surprise discovery at the Otay Mesa border crossing on Saturday: A Mexican citizen was found inside the spare tire compartment of a Nissan Juke.
On Monday, federal prosecutors charged LAPD officer Carlos Curiel Quezada Jr., 34, and his companion, Angelica Godinez, 31, with bringing in a person without presenting them to an appropriate immigration officer at a port of entry, the Los Angeles Times reports. Prosecutors say that when Quezada and Godinez arrived at the border crossing, they showed their passports and said they were headed to Mission Hills, California. The car was inspected by a device that is similar to an X-ray machine, and authorities saw something that looked unusual in the back of the car. When they popped the trunk, officers found Antanasio Perez-Avalos, a "Mexican citizen with no legal ability to enter the United States," U.S. Customs officials said.
Quezada and Godinez both pleaded not guilty, and an LAPD spokesperson said that Quezada has been assigned to his home on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation by the department. Catherine Garcia