Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents recovered the bodies of two migrants who succumbed to the heat of the Arizona desert after being smuggled across the border from Mexico. One of the migrants died this week, while the second had been dead for two weeks.
Yuma Sector agents assigned to the Foreign Operations Branch on June 1 received a call from Mexican officials about a 911 call reporting a distressed group of migrants who became distressed from the heat after illegally crossing the border into southwest Arizona, according to information provided by Yuma Sector Border Patrol officials. Mexican officials advised that one of the females in the group collapsed and died from the heat.
The agents initiated an immediate search and rescue operation to locate the migrants in the Yuma foothills. CBP Air and Marine Operations Yuma Air Interdiction agents responded to the area and discovered the group a short time later.
The agents took the migrants and their human smuggler guide into custody. They found the deceased woman, identified as a 20-year-old Guatemalan national, and turned her body over to the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office Coroner. Agents identified the guide as a 16-year-old Mexican national from San Luis.
“It doesn’t take much,” said Lenin Padilla, a Border Patrol agent and program manager assigned to the Yuma Sector Foreign Operations Branch. “Proof of that is the woman. She was only a couple miles north of the border. It’s hot out there.”
One day earlier, Yuma Sector agents assigned to the Welton Border Patrol Station tracked a group of migrants through the Barry M. Goldwater Bombing Range. While tracking the group, the agents encountered the remains of a deceased male. Officials later identified the decedent as a 40-year-old Mexican national. It appears he succumbed to the heat of the Arizona desert about two weeks earlier.
“The smugglers have no regard for human life,” Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Agent Chris T. Clem said in a written statement. “Border Patrol agents will continue to do their best to mitigate entries and rescue migrants who need their help.”
Yuma Sector officials are working closely with their Mexican counterparts to try and prevent migrants from being placed in these deadly conditions, officials reported.
“The most important thing is prevention,” Padilla said. “We are trying to prevent people from crossing the desert, especially in the summer months.”
During the month of May, Yuma Sector agents recovered the bodies or remains of five migrants — two remain unidentified. They also responded to 47 911 calls and rescued 126 migrants from the heat. Two other migrants remain unaccounted for after being reported missing by family members.
“These were people who were in the desert and were never found,” Padilla said.