Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents apprehended a group of 325 Central American migrants after they illegally crossed into Arizona Thursday near Lukeville.
Agents assigned to the Ajo Station came upon a large group of migrants who illegally crossed west of the Lukeville port of entry, according to Tucson Sector Border Patrol officials. The group consisted of 325 migrants from Central America.
A large group of 325 Central Americans were apprehended by @CBP #USBP agents near Lukeville Thursday, where limited infrastructure is currently located and smugglers continue to take advantage. Details: https://t.co/0SaXSyvXVD pic.twitter.com/iLJa0jnqST
— CBP Arizona (@CBPArizona) February 8, 2019
Border Patrol camera surveillance of the area detected a possible campfire and dispatched a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) aircrew to the area. The aircrew spotted the group and directed ground-based Border Patrol agents to the scene.
The area where the migrant group crossed is protected only by vehicle barriers. There is no physical barrier to pedestrian crossings in this part of the border that is being exploited by human smugglers and large migrant groups from Central America.
The agents found the group huddled around a campfire during the freezing weather conditions of Thursday morning. Leaders of the group admitted they crossed the border illegally after being dropped off by multiple buses on Mexico’s Federal Highway 2 that runs parallel to the U.S. border.
The groups waited alongside the highway located about 50 yards from the Arizona border until the entire group assembled to cross the border at the same time. Smugglers in this area use this strategy to tie up all of the Border Patrol resources so they can move drugs or other high-value human customers across the border with little opposition, officials previously told Breitbart News.
The strategy appears to work as agents who would otherwise be patrolling the border were reassigned to provide security, care, and transportation for the 325 migrants. The agents utilized vans and trucks to transport the group 15 miles through very rough terrain to a staging area where buses could be utilized to take them the rest of the way for processing.
Agents said the group consisted of 150 juveniles. At least 32 traveled as Unaccompanied Alien Children, officials reported.
Medical specialists assigned to the Department of Homeland Security provided initial medical screening and treatment. They found two juveniles in need of immediate medical care. One of those, a 5-year-old reportedly has chicken pox while the second, a 12-year-old suffered a skin infection. Agents transported them to an area hospital for treatment.
“Illicit transnational criminal organizations exploit the vulnerability of foreign nationals with false promises of legal status and encourage dangerous border crossings, placing lives at risk,” CBP officials stated.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.