Federal authorities are launching a human smuggling investigation after Tuesday’s s deadly crash that left 13 people dead near the California-Mexico border.

NBC News confirms the Department of Homeland Security unit in San Diego is looking into the crash that happened around 6:15 in the morning on March 2nd, near the farming town of Holtville in Imperial County.

The collision occurred on Route 115  about 60 miles west of the Arizona border, and 15 miles north of the U-S border with Mexico.

An SUV, a Ford Expedition, was loaded with 25 people, when it pulled out of a side street, in front of an oncoming semi tractor trailer.

CHP Officials say ten of the dead, including the SUV driver, were Mexican nationals.

The only two seats in the SUV were the driver’s seat and the front right passenger seat, and the vehicle was  built to hold eight people safely.

Several of the victims were ejected from the SUV upon impact.

Four of the victims are being treated at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.



Law enforcement officers sort evidence and debris at the scene of a deadly crash in Holtville, Calif., on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. Authorities say a semi-truck crashed into an SUV carrying 25 people on a Southern California highway, killing at least 13 people. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)