Several illegal aliens were arrested early Wednesday when the vehicle they were riding in was pulled over just off of Interstate-80 in central Iowa. Colfax police chief Jon Huggins says it was a city cop who took them into custody, early this morning. The stop happened just south of the I-80 interchange in town. a little before 4:00 AM, when an officer stopped a Chevy Astrovan for a minor equipment violation. The van, designed for up to seven people, had 14 in it. The van had Arizona plates and the people inside told the cop they were enroute to Chicago. Chief Huggins says federal immigration officials came from Des Moines to take the people into federal custody. The chief says it’s not that unusual to come across travelers of a shady nature, being so close to an interstate highway. Huggins says this is the third van his police have interdicted carrying illegals and handed over to the custody of immigration officials this year. He says there were at least a couple besides that, vehicles with at least 20 people in them that INS did not come pick up because the agency didn’t have facilities to house the illegal immigrants. Those people, though identified as in the U-S illegally, were allowed to go free because there was no way to take them into custody. Chief Huggins says the biggest concern for him is not simply helping out the border patrol. With more than twice the intended occupancy, he says this vehicle would have been top-heavy and unstable, not responsive if the driver had to maneuver quickly, and prone to a rollover. He says it’s a matter of protecting not only the illegals, but everyone else on the highway. He says the grisly crash near Earlham that killed several illegal aliens in a slow-moving van earlier this month showed what can happen when an overloaded vehicle is on the highway.
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