(San Diego Union Tribune) Amid the routine discoveries of drugs hidden in gas tanks or Mexican citizens using falsified documents, officers who screen vehicles entering San Diego from Mexico at the ports of entry lately have been encountering another common sight: Chinese immigrants stuffed into trunks, spare tire compartments or other clandestine chambers.

This fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the ports of entry in California have apprehended more than 261 unauthorized immigrants from China. That’s nearly a 50 percent increase from the 177 the year before.

Border Patrol in San Diego County has also continued to see a large Chinese population, arresting 218 as of mid-September, including 23 Chinese nationals who were recently caught in Otay Mesa shortly after emerging from a cross-border tunnel in August. However, that is significantly less than the initial spike of 861 Chinese apprehended a year earlier.

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