Cartel-Connected Smuggler Arrested in South Texas Has Coronavirus, Say Feds

Border Patrol agents utilizing PPE and coronavirus protection protocols while processing an illegal alien. (CBP File Photo by Jerry Glaser)
CBP File Photo by Jerry Glaser

Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol agents arrested two alleged drug smugglers. One of the Mexican nationals tested positive for COVID-19 and has alleged ties to a cartel, officials stated.

Rio Grande City Station Border Patrol agents patrolling near Escobares, Texas, on May 8, encountered two drug smuggling suspects after they illegally crossed from Mexico. One tested positive for Coronavirus after being taken into custody. Officials said the man also has ties to a cartel.

The agents arrested the two Mexican men as part of a drug smuggling case. After transporting them to the Rio Grande City Border Patrol station, one complained of migraine pain. The agents transported him to a local hospital where he tested positive for COVID-19, officials reported. The second Mexican national was asymptomatic and returned to Mexico under Coronavirus protection protocols.

“Our border security efforts are vital in containing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the American people during this health pandemic. These measures are working,” CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said in a written statement. “Our Border Patrol agents risk their lives every day and, in this case, they did their jobs and ensured these smugglers could not successfully enter the United States.”

“Think about the alternative: potentially endless exposure and spread of the virus to innocent Americans with likely disastrous consequences from unscrupulous smugglers,” Morgan stated. “This is yet another example of why COVID-19 policies are so critical to the health and safety of the American people.”

Officials said the Mexican national who tested positive for COVID-19 had been arrested by Border Patrol agents on three previous occasions since late 2018. He will remain in quarantine for observation until he is returned to Mexico.

During the enforcement action, the agents also seized 200 .50 caliber rounds of ammunition. The agents turned the ammo over to the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Explosives.

“All agents, contract staff, and personnel who had contact with the subject were evaluated and found to have low to minimal exposure,” Rio Grande Valley Sector officials said in a written statement. “Per CBP policy, they were directed to follow CDC guidelines for monitoring and quarantine if necessary. No individual has shown any adverse signs or symptoms.”

This is the second illegal immigrant to test positive after being arrested for illegally entering the United States. In late April, El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents arrested an Indian national near Calexico, California. The man was traveling with a group of Mexican males, Breitbart Texas reported.

“On Thursday, April 23, a U.S. Border Patrol agent apprehended three Mexican nationals and one Indian national suspected of having illegally crossed the border along the U.S.-Mexico border near Calexico, California. The three Mexican nationals were rapidly returned to Mexico under Title 42 USC 265, and the Indian national was transported to a USBP facility for processing,” Morgan said in a written statement on Monday.

After the initial processing of the Indian national, officials referred the man for medical evaluation after he displayed flu-like symptoms, CBP officials reported. Medical staff tested the 31-year-old man for the Coronavirus and the test came back positive for COVID-19.

“The potential for the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in CBP stations and processing centers presents a danger to migrants, our frontline agents and officers, and the American people. Our agents and officers continue to protect our country from this invisible enemy, risking their own lives for the health of our nation,” Commissioner Morgan said at the time. “This is precisely the reason the CDC has given CBP the authority to rapidly return individuals that could potentially be infected with COVID-19.”

“Can you imagine if we were navigating this pandemic during this time last year, when we had more than 20,000 migrants in our custody?” the commissioner continued. “It would have overwhelmed our processing centers and stations, and crippled the healthcare system along the border.”

During the human smuggling process from South Asia, migrants are frequently moved through multiple countries and kept in stash houses during the weeks-long journey to the U.S. southern border, Border Patrol officials repeatedly tell Breitbart Texas in interviews.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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