Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector continue to confront the dangers they encounter in the nation’s busiest region for the apprehension of illegal immigrants. Agents in this sector apprehend more Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC), Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) than all other southwest border patrol sectors combined. Nearly half of all illegal aliens apprehended after crossing the border from Mexico are arrested in the 17,000 square miles of this sector.
Agents are faced with dangers to themselves and frequently to the illegal aliens being guided by cartel-connected human smugglers. Those dangers include direct assaults on the agents and high-speed chases involving both human and drug cargo. The migrants are also placed in danger through the pursuits, being force-marched through dangerous South Texas ranchlands, and being beaten, raped and extorted in stash houses, according to information provided to Breitbart Texas by RGV Sector Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla, Jr.
Padilla gave examples of high-speed chases that frequently end in what is referred to as “splashdowns.” This is a tactic used by drug smugglers where they flee from law enforcement and return to the river border with Mexico. When they make it back to the Rio Grande River border, the smugglers crash their vehicles into the water. The goal is to give people on the Mexican side of the border an opportunity to recover as much of the drug load as possible before U.S. law enforcement officials can seize it.
Three such incidents took place in the past week, Padilla explained.
On January 10, agents assigned to the Weslaco Station observed suspects loading bundles of marijuana into an SUV. As Border Patrol agents approached the scene, the driver quickly drove the truck into the river and absconded into Mexico. While the smuggler fled apprehension, agents recovered more than 500 pounds of marijuana. The seized marijuana has an estimated street value of more than $400,000, officials stated.
Fort Brown Station agents attempted to stop a suspicious vehicle on Friday. The driver fled from the agents and began throwing caltrops into the road. The caltrops put agents’ lives, and potentially those of other drivers on the roadway, in danger of possibly losing control of a vehicle when the tires are blown out. In this case, the agents driving the two Border Patrol vehicles managed to control their vehicles and safely stop.
The alleged drug smuggler managed to make it back to the Rio Grande River where he “splashed down” into the river. When agents arrived, they observed people from the Mexican side of the river wading in and carrying bundles of marijuana back into Mexico. The driver also successfully escaped.
Friday evening, Rio Grande City Station agents broke up another alleged drug smuggling operation. This driver drove his drug loaded vehicle back into the Rio Grande Valley river near Fronton, Texas. He successfully crashed his vehicle into the river and escaped.
Other agents managed to rescue migrants who were being warehoused in human stash houses. In one case, agents worked with the Roma, Texas, police department to rescue 20 from a home. The agents determined all 20 people who were crammed into the little house were illegally present in the U.S.
Other agents from the Weslaco Station uncovered another human stash house on January 11 where 17 illegal aliens were being held. The following day, five more illegal aliens were found near San Benito.
“The incidents that have occurred the past few days in our communities are symptoms of a chaotic border,” Chief Padilla said in a written statement. “Although we have seen an overall decrease in apprehensions nationwide, the Valley continues to be the most volatile area along the southwest border.”
In the first three months of Fiscal Year 2018, RGV Sector agents apprehended 9,721 illegal aliens. Of those, 2,905 were classified as families (perhaps eligible for a future DACA-style program) and 1,405 unaccompanied minors. The partial families and unaccompanied minors came from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, Breitbart Texas reported.
Since a low point in April 2017, the apprehension of FMUAs increased by 625 percent.