Border Patrol: Smuggling in summer heat can quickly turn deadly

Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 6:26 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - U.S. Border Patrol agents say Arizona's triple-digit temperatures are turning a common human smuggling method into a deadly ride. 

Agents say they've seen a number of cases of people in the trunks of cars.

In this extreme heat, within just 10 minutes, the inside of a parked car jumps 19 degrees.

Officials say the space of a trunk is even hotter.

That small, confined area can reach 20 to 30 degrees higher than the outside air temperature.

Emergency responders say the result of being in this extreme heat is that people can start to "cook" as they lose fluids and their cores heat up.

“When these people are put in these confined spaces, in these trunks, with no airflow and 100+ temperatures outside, this can absolutely become a fatal situation, and quickly,” Border Patrol Agent Joe Curran said.

In southern Arizona, most checkpoints are within 40 minutes of the border, so hopefully, that’s how long people are in there and not hours in the extreme heat.

But when you add multiple people in a small, confined space, it only gets hotter.

Many people don’t realize that when your back seats are up, there is no A/C flowing into your trunk, so that confined space quickly becomes like an oven.

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