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Eight Migrants Found in Fake Carpet Cleaning Tanks

April 16, 2007
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NOGALES, Ariz. - Immigration agents found eight people hidden inside carpet cleaning tanks in a van at the border crossing in Nogales earlier this week.

The unique smuggling effort was discovered by agents questioning the van's driver early Wednesday. Customs and Border Protection agents became suspicious of the man during routine questioning and began a closer inspection.

Two metal holding tanks inside the van were disguised to look like normal van-mounted carpet cleaning equipment. But agents found instead that they held eight illegal immigrants, squeezed inside the tanks.

They had to work quickly to free the people, lifting the tanks and pulling them from underneath.

Agents arrested 53-year-old Kenneth Claunch of Bakersfield, Arizona. The U-S Attorney's Office says he's been charged with alien smuggling. Three of the people being smuggled are being held as witnesses and the rest were returned to Mexico.

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