LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles police officer accused of trying to sneak a Mexican citizen into the United States, while hidden in the trunk of a car, pleaded not guilty Thursday to a human smuggling charge.

Carlos Curiel Quezada, 34, and his girlfriend Angelica Godinez, 31, were arrested on March 14 at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry at the Mexico-California border near San Diego, as listed in court documents.

Around 6:30 p.m., they drove Quezada’s 2014 Nissan Juke into the checkpoint and told a Customs and Border Protection agent they had nothing to declare. The agent decided to direct them towards the vehicle inspection area. An imaging device similar to an X-ray scanned the vehicle and found a person hiding in a rear compartment, according to the indictment.

Agents found 26-year-old Antanasio Perez Avalos, a Mexican citizen, stowed in the car.

Quezada and Godinez, both Los Angeles residents, were placed under arrest.

At Thursday’s court appearance, Quezada’s bail was set at $20,000. He was ordered to appear in court June 12.

He and his girlfriend each face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Meanwhile, the officer is on paid administrative leave with the LAPD.




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