BROWNSVILLE, Texas — The family of a migrant who died when she was reportedly struck by a U.S. Coast Guard boat is suing the federal government for damages. They allege that the government is responsible for the woman’s death since the craft was moving at a high rate of speed in area known for human smuggling.
The lawsuit was filed late last week on behalf of the husband and daughter of of Patricia Guadalupe Garcia Cervantes, a migrant who was killed when a U.S Coast Guard boat reportedly struck her while she was trying to cross a ship channel. The family is asking for an unspecified amount of money to compensate for Garcia’s death, plus pain and suffering.
The lawsuit claims that on April 21, 2015, Garcia Cervantes left her hometown in the Mexican state of Veracruz to support her husband and daughter in the United States. Two days later, she arrived in the Mexican border city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, where she met with a human smuggler to negotiate her passage into Texas.
The human smuggler brought Garcia across the Rio Grande River in a wooden raft to the border city of Brownsville, Texas. From the crossing point, Garcia and guide hiked three miles toward the Brownsville Ship Channel for a rendezvous away from the attention of law enforcement. In order to cross the ship channel, the smuggler and Garcia used two inner tubes to help cross the waters.
A U.S. Coast Guard boat on patrol was reportedly moving along the waters at a more than 30 when the propeller struck Garcia. The complaint contends that the crew “made the conscious decision to increase the vessel speed even though they were aware that they were operating in a known smuggling area.”
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.