Looking at the large, late-model pickup truck at the San Ysidro border crossing, nothing obvious seemed out of place, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers were suspicious.
They pulled the truck aside, detained the driver and went to work. Immediately, they found two people huddled in a passenger compartment behind the driver's seat.
But the real eye-opener came next. When they looked under the lid, or cap, over the back bed, ten more people rolled out, shaken but still alive. Even on a cool day like this one south of San Diego it was an uncomfortable arrangement. Some were laying on their sides and arranged so that their feet were by the next person's head. Some were on top of each other.
Officers here say they are constantly being surprised to see what smugglers will try next. They've seen people hidden inside gas tanks and next to engine blocks. They've also found people hidden inside rolls of carpet. One man was even sewn inside a seat cover.
Their biggest fear is that someone will die on one of these journeys. It's a very real risk, as some people some willing to try anything to get into the United States and some smugglers seem unafraid to jeopardize someone's well-being to get them across the border.
-- By David Mattingly, CNN Correspondent