Deadly crash involving SUV carrying 25 people prompts human smuggling investigation, ICE confirms

As California Highway Patrol investigates the deadly crash involving a Ford Expedition carrying 25 people inside the SUV near the United States-Mexico border, federal agents also made their way to the crash scene to see if any forms of human smuggling were involved.

Earlier in the day, CHP responded to a call of a crash in Imperial County around 6:15 a.m. Tuesday. The crash involved the SUV carrying 25 people and a big rig hauling two trailers. The crash killed at least 13 people and several others were taken to the hospital.


Hours after the horrific crash, ICE confirmed to FOX 11 that agents from the Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego launched a human smuggling investigation in connection to the crash.

A spokesperson with ICE issued the following statement:

"Special Agents from Homeland Security Investigations San Diego responded to the scene of today’s fatal crash in El Centro, California, and have initiated a human smuggling investigation. The investigation is ongoing and no further details are available at this time."

The Consulate of Mexico in Mexicali said 10 of the 13 people killed in the crash were citizens of Mexico. That information does not necessarily mean that the SUV occupants were undocumented or entered the United States illegally. 

Neither CHP nor ICE released the identification of the people killed or injured in the crash.

The 69-year-old driver of the big rig was taken to a local hospital with moderate injuries. 

Below is a statement issued by the Consulate of Mexico-Mexicali:

NTSB is heading to the scene in Imperial County to investigate the crash.

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