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Yuma-area BP apprehends 170 people, including 25 U.S. citizens, near Imperial Sand Dunes

Border Patrol agents arrested 170 people, including 25 U.S. citizens, during a three-week operation in the Imperial Sand Dunes west of Yuma, Ariz., during April and May, authorities said. 

During "Operation Sandman," agents from Yuma Sector's Special Operations Detachment, along with intelligence units from Yuma and El Centro Sectors, and aircrews from the Air and Marine Office, apprehended 145 people in the United States without authorization as they were smuggled into the United States through the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, a region of sand dunes west of Yuma, about 235 miles west of Tucson, said Jose J. Garibay, a Border Patrol spokesman. 

Four of the those arrested were Chinese nationals and three hailed from India, Garibay said. 

Twenty-five people, identified only as U.S. citizens were also arrested for their role in "coordinating and facilitating human smuggling attempts," Garibay said. 

Agents also seized 15 vehicles, Garibay said, adding that three other vehicles were returned to rental companies after the occupants were arrested. 

This was the second such operation this year. 

In February and March, Yuma-area agents arrested 204 people in the dunes near Yuma, including 29 U.S. citizens, and seized 19 vehicles, Garibay said. 

Both operations involved the Yuma Sector Special Operations Detachment, which includes agents from the Border Patrol Search Trauma & Rescue Unit, or BORSTAR, and the Border Patrol Tactical Unit, or BORTAC. Agents assigned to the unit undergo an intense training regimen before they are certified as SOD agents, Garibay said. 

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Yuma-area U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents arrested 170 people during a three-week operation in the Imperial Sand Dunes west of Yuma, Arizona.