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Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents in the Imperial Valley were kept busy last weekend, apprehending a wanted gang member, performing a search, rescue, and arrest mission on migrants lost in the mountains between San Diego and the eastern desert, and intercepting an airplane preparing to take off found to be involved in a human smuggling operation.

A 29 year-old Mexican national with a lengthy criminal and gang history who was ordered deported in 2006 by a judge in Santa Ana was caught trying to cross back into the United States in the desert about 22 miles east of the Calexico port of entry on Saturday morning, and is being held pending criminal charges.

Earlier that morning, agents watched a car containing three suspected men suspected of being in the country illegally arrive at the Imperial County Airport and board a small plane. The three, upon questioning, were discovered to be Mexican nationals with no immigration documents and were placed under arrest along with their pilot, whose plane was seized by the Border Patrol.

Even before that, a California Highway Patrol officer called in to report another three men who appeared to be wandering lost in the Laguna Mountains of eastern San Diego County. Agents from the San Diego CBP Office of Air and Marine were called in and located the men using a Border Patrol aircraft. The three complained of having gone as long as two days without water, but were determined to be in stable condition, arrested for being in the country illegally, and transported to a detention center in El Centro.

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