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Cloth booties worn by passengers in a 2008 Mercedes sedan tipped Border Patrol agents off to a human smuggling operation and led to four arrests last Sunday, the Department of Homeland Security reports.

At about 11:15 p.m. on the evening of May 5, the luxury vehicle was stopped at the Interstate 5 checkpoint before San Clemente along the northern coast of San Diego County. Agents said the driver appeared nervous, and his three male passengers were wearing dirty clothing and booties over their shoes, often used as a tactic to obscure footprints by individuals crossing the border illegally.

Running a check on the vehicle, agents discovered that it had been reported stolen in Carlsbad the previous day. On questioning, the passengers admitted that they were Mexican nationals present in the United States illegally, and were taken into custody along with the driver. The car was seized as evidence, and has reportedly not yet been returned to its owner.

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