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Woman saved days after being locked in ambulance compartment

Posted at 1:29 PM, Jun 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-13 12:36:33-04

Nogales (Ariz.) Police say a woman was rescued after being abandoned by human smugglers in an out-of-service ambulance for nearly three days.

According to the Nogales Police Department, a call was received from the U.S. Border Patrol about a woman who needed help in the Freeport area.

Police say that 26-year-old Angeles Montes Mariano was illegally guided across the border by "coyotes" Wednesday afternoon, through hilly terrain towards.

When she arrived at the U.S. side of the border, she was taken by human smugglers into a yard that is used to store vehicles. Mariano was then asked to climb into a 4 ft wide x 4 ft high compartment in an out of service ambulance.

She was left with little water and no food.

The compartment she was abandoned in was locked from the inside, only being able to open with exterior handles. The inside of it was lined with diamond plate aluminum which created high temperatures. 

Mariano still had her cell phone with her and was able to call her brother who drove 1,400 miles from Puebla, Mexico to search for her.

Her brother approached U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Mariposa Port of Entry and asked for their help as he was not able to cross into the U.S. legally.

Border Patrol, with the help of the Nogales Police Department, were able to locate Mariano, who was still alive after being locked in the ambulance compartment for 40 hours.

She was transported to a local hospital and made a full recovery.

Sgt. Robert Fierros says this is an example of the dangers of illegal immigration. 

"It's not worth the risk. There's a lot of dangers that could put them at high risk, particularly women and children that are more vulnerable to the human traffickers and their careless, heartless tactics," Fierros said.