Border Patrol agents in the Yuma Sector found an adult MS-13 member hiding in a group of 61 illegal immigrants found in the desert. The gang member initially claimed to be an unaccompanied minor.
Agents assigned to the Yuma Station came upon a large group of 61 illegal immigrants who had just crossed the border Monday afternoon near the San Luis Port of Entry in southern Arizona. The illegal border crossers consisted of a single Mexican national, 59 Guatemalans, and one Salvadoran who claimed to be an unaccompanied minor, according to information provided to Breitbart Texas by Yuma Sector Public Affairs officials.
The agents transported all 61 to the Yuma Station for processing. The agents determined the person claiming to be a Salvadoran unaccompanied minor to actually be an adult. Officials identified the Salvadoran as 18-year-old Herberth Geovani Argueta-Chavez. He also admitted to being a member of Mara Salvatrucha-13 (MS-13).
Argueta-Chavez told officials “he was trying to separate from the gang.” He said he crossed the border illegally to make his way to Los Angeles, California.
Agents processed the group of 61 illegal aliens for immigration violations.
Border Patrol spokesman Justin Kallinger told Breitbart Texas that the Mexican national has been interviewed and remains under investigation. He said they are not sure if this group of 60 migrants is part of the “caravan” that is reported to be making its way from Central America to the U.S.
Kallinger noted that the Yuma Sector has seen “an uptick in larger groups,” mostly from Guatemala and Honduras.
Of those in the group of 60 migrants, more than ninety percent were unaccompanied minors or “family reunites,” he explained. The juveniles ranged in age from one-year to 17.
On April 7, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a zero-tolerance policy for people crossing the border illegally, even for the first time.
“To those who wish to challenge the Trump Administration’s commitment to public safety, national security, and the rule of law, I warn you: illegally entering this country will not be rewarded, but will instead be met with the full prosecutorial powers of the Department of Justice,” Sessions said in a written statement. “The situation at our Southwest Border is unacceptable. Congress has failed to pass effective legislation that serves the national interest—that closes dangerous loopholes and fully funds a wall along our southern border. As a result, a crisis has erupted at our Southwest Border that necessitates an escalated effort to prosecute those who choose to illegally cross our border.”
Border Patrol agents are reporting illegal border crossings by large groups of migrants. On Tuesday, agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector reported two large groups that crossed near Hidalgo, Texas, in a two-day period. The agents arrested 112 illegal immigrants including 14 Unaccompanied Alien Children. Most of the balance of the group where Family Unit Aliens from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
In response to the massive increase in illegal border crossings, President Donald Trump called for the deployment of up to 4,000 National Guard troops.
Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona have all responded to the president’s request by committing to send nearly 2,000 guardsmen to the southern border.
“You need to understand that there is a mathematical need for this because the people coming across the border have increased dramatically,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Fox and Friends Monday morning, “more than 200 percent month on month in the month of March, of what it was the year before.”
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with additional information from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.
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, GAB, and Facebook.