More than 1,000 migrants were arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents during a 3-month operation targeting Otay Mountain in southern California.
Border Patrol agents from the San Diego Sector were assigned to Task Force Otay in mid-October to focus on multiple smuggling organizations using the mountain as a gateway into the U.S. The Otay Mountain area is well known for its treacherous terrain and rampant bandit activity, information received by Breitbart Texas from Border Patrol officials revealed.
The area made national news in March 2016 when Efrain Delgado-Rosales, 35, was sentenced to five years in prison after being caught smuggling a group of four migrants on Otay Mountain. It was his 24th arrest for human smuggling, Breitbart News reported.
The primary objective of the operation was to make a dramatic impact on the smuggling activities of multiple criminal organizations that seek to take advantage of the terrain to carry out their operations. Border Patrol officials confirmed to Breitbart Texas that human and drug smuggling in the area is primarily controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel.
“Multiple smuggling organizations are responsible for threatening our nation’s security through persistent human smuggling on Otay Mountain,” Chief Patrol Agent Richard A. Barlow said at the beginning of the operation. “We will flex our enforcement posture toward these exploited areas to weaken and ultimately eliminate these criminal enterprises.”
Illegal immigration is not the only problem in the Otay Mountain region. Border Patrol officials report that the popular recreational area is also well-known for Mexican bandit operations, kidnappings, extortion, and rapes “committed upon migrants by perpetrators in Mexico.”
The operation was a success.
During the operation that began on October 16, agents arrested more than 1,000 migrants for entering the U.S. illegally on Otay Mountain.
The operation was a bi-national effort where Border Patrol officials worked in conjunction with Mexican Federal Police (Policia Federal) to leverage the enforcement and proprietorial efforts on both sides of the border.
In addition to the arrest of the over 1,000 border crossers, agents also arrested 39 on charges of criminal smuggling or other immigration violations.
“Through Task Force Otay, the Border Patrol will maintain a zero tolerance approach to human smuggling on Otay Mountain,” Patrol Agent in Charge of the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station Daniel Parks said in a written statement. “The success of this strategy is dependent on our partnerships with U.S. prosecutors and Mexican Federal Police.”
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with additional information provided by U.S. Border Patrol officials.