Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector carried out mountain rescue operations and successfully recovered 18 migrants pushed beyond their “limits” by human smugglers. Two were hospitalized for injuries.
Late in the evening of June 4, a border camera system picked up a group of suspected illegal immigrants moving through a “remote and rugged valley” as they attempted to evade arrest. The agents picked up the trail on foot and tracked the migrants for 11 miles before finding an unconscious man who sustained multiple injuries, according to Tucson Sector officials.
The agents called for a helicopter aircrew to airlift the migrant and immediately began first aid. Other agents continued searching for the remainder of the group. The migrants split up in an apparent attempt to avoid apprehension, officials stated.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) dispatched a Blackhawk helicopter to airlift out the unconscious migrant.
Following a hike lasting more than 10 hours, Border Patrol agents rounded up the remaining 17. The group consisted of two women and 16 males from Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, officials reported. Agents said the group was exhausted and needed water after being “pushed to their physical limit in a desert mountain range” by human smugglers. One of the men required hospitalization for chest pains.
U.S. Border Patrol Chief of Law Enforcement Operations Brian Hastings told reporters during a press call on Wednesday that the number of rescues of migrants is increasing dramatically this year.
“So far this fiscal year, the men and women of the Border Patrol have done over 3,000 rescues,” Hastings told the reporters. “We’ve seen a massive increase in the amount of water-related rescues that are taking place — primarily in Del Rio, RGV, and Laredo’s areas of operation.”