EL PASO, Texas – Sunday night, Border Patrol Agents used ropes to rescue two Mexican nationals from the American Canal near downtown El Paso. Two others, who also entered the swift-moving water, were apprehended after exiting the canal, and all four were taken into custody for processing and removal from the United States. Meanwhile, the body of a drowning victim was recovered from the same area by the El Paso Fire Department, but was not part of this group.
Just before 10:00 p.m., Border Patrol Agents monitoring security systems observed 11 people illegally crossing the border. Four men were spotted entering the American canal along the U.S./Mexico International Boundary between Sixth Street and the Second Street crossover.
Agents immediately responded to the area, and seven subjects retreated south into Mexico. The four remaining men entered the canal and were swept away toward the Second Street crossover, struggling to stay afloat. Two men were able to get out of the canal on their own and were immediately placed into custody.
A Border Patrol agent threw a rescue rope to one of the remaining men and pulled him out of the canal. The other was able to grab ladder rungs on the south side of the canal, where an agent helped him out of the water. El Paso EMS (Emergency Medical Services) examined the four subjects, and transported one to University Medical Center (UMC) for treatment of water aspiration.
During the rescue, other Border Patrol agents positioned at the Second Street crossover observed an apparent drowning victim stuck under a flood gate. Agents called the El Paso County Water Irrigation District to lift the gate, and El Paso Fire and Rescue recovered the body at around 11:30 p.m. local time. The drowning victim was not related to the group mentioned above, and had apparently attempted to cross earlier.
“The vigilance of our Border Patrol agents allowed them to respond immediately and prevent additional loss of life in this incident.” said Gloria Chavez, Interim Chief for the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector. “We cannot stress enough how dangerous these canals can be anytime of the year.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens are encouraged to report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, while remaining anonymous by calling 1-800-635-2509 toll-free.
It is important to note that an arrest should not be considered evidence of guilt, and subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.