Border Patrol Agents Disrupt Human Smuggling Operation in California

Allen J. Schaben –– – A Border Patrol agent scans an Illegal alien's fingerprint in the new Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) as another waits in the processing room to be fingerprinted after being caught with a group of seven illegal aliens two miles east of the Otay Mesa …
File Photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

U.S. Border Patrol officials in southern California reported successful results from a new aggressive enforcement campaign targeting East County. The first four weeks of Campaign Eastern Front (CEF) resulted in the arrests of human smugglers and a large number of illegal aliens, along with the seizure of drug shipments.

Border Patrol officials are applauding the successful results obtained by agents during the first four weeks of CEF. Between June 12 and July 9, officials reported the arrest of nearly 250 illegal aliens and 28 human smugglers. During the operation, two felony fugitives were also captured and turned over to other law enforcement agencies, information obtained from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) by Breitbart Texas revealed.

CEF is an aggressive enforcement program targeting East County, California. The county is located directly east of San Diego. CEF is designed to have immediate impact on smuggling organizations operating in this county. Specifically it is targeting the violent local smugglers in the Tecate, Baja California-Jardines Del Rincon, Ejido Chula Vista, Jacume, and El Hongo areas of East County where these groups operate. The criminal organizations in this area operate transportation cells and often utilize “dangerous and reckless tactics” in carrying out their operations, officials stated. These smugglers are often associated with dangerous Mexican cartels.

“We are taking a proactive and deliberate approach to address our concerns in the East County to ensure that the violent incidents that we have unfortunately experienced in the past do not occur in the future,” Chief Patrol Agent Richard Barlow said in a written statement.

The agency is working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office which will reportedly focus prosecution efforts on the smugglers. Border Patrol agents have told Breitbart Texas in the past about the difficulty in getting the Department of Justice to pursue human smuggling and illegal re-entry cases.

In addition to the 244 illegal aliens and 28 human smugglers arrested in the first four months of the ongoing operation, agents have seized over 16 kilograms of crystal meth and 1.16 kilograms of cocaine. The drugs have an estimated street value of nearly $200,000.

Barlow said this is not a short-term operation and the CEF campaign will continue indefinitely: “We will maintain this intensive enforcement strategy to further secure the border in East County, while ensuring that consequences are brought to those engaged in cross-border smuggling activity.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.