SAN DIEGO (CBS) – Border guards say an alleged human smuggling attempt was stopped this week when Chinese nationals were discovered hiding in a car trunk.

On March 14, just before 6 p.m.,  a 24-year-old American man driving a 2014 Chrysler 200 underwent inspection at the San Ysidro border crossing, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  While the vehicle was being inspected, a search dog alerted officers to something in the trunk of the car. When officers opened it, they found four people crammed inside.

Three women and one man – all Chinese nationals – were taken out of the trunk and processed, officials said. None of them were eligible to legally enter the U.S.

“Concealing persons in vehicles is dangerous and could have severe consequences,” said Pete Flores, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego. “San Ysidro CBP officers stopped a violation of our immigration law and were able to resolve the incident safely.”

Officers seized the vehicle and took the driver into custody to await arraignment on federal charges.

Authorities placed an immigration hold on the Chinese nationals, who were expected to be deported “at the conclusion of the criminal proceedings.”

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