FORT HANCOCK, TX – Vigilance by Border Patrol Agents was responsible this week for thwarting an attempt to smuggle 50 bundles of marijuana into the U.S.
It began when a Border Patrol Agent assigned to the Fort Hancock Station spotted a white Chevrolet pick-up carrying fence equipment on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande river. The vehicle seemed out of place to the agent who was familiar with those surroundings. The agent approached the pick-up truck to question the single occupant about his citizenship. The driver of the pick-up then became uncomfortable and unable to clearly identify the ranch that was his destination.
Since that region is known as a high-trafficking area for illegal smuggling activity, the agent decided to further investigate and delve deeper into questioning. While the agent was attempting to gather more information, the unidentified driver of the pick-up made an abrupt U-turn and sped away toward Mexico.
A brief distance later, the agent saw that same truck in the Rio Grande River, partially submerged in water. The truck got stuck on the bank of the river, and the driver took off on foot toward the border. By this time, several other agents from the Fort Hancock area arrived and discovered more than 50 bundles wrapped in cellophane sitting in the bed of the truck, hidden beneath a piece of plywood. Rolls of fencing materials were also used to help conceal the bundles of the contraband.
Once at the station, the cellophane bundles tested positive for marijuana. The drugs and vehicle were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations.
Later that day, agents assigned to the Deming Border Patrol Station received a distress signal from a rescue beacon located in the boot-heel of New Mexico. Due to the harsh desert terrain and night time conditions, agents on all-terrain vehicles were immediately dispatched to search. They came upon two male subjects in their early twenties who appeared to be exhausted. They stated they crossed the international boundary illegally, and were citizens of Mexico. They appeared to have gotten lost, but found a rescue beacon out in the desert. Border Patrol EMT's found them and gave the subjects a medical assessment. They were determined to be in good health, but suffering from dehydration. Both subjects were transported the Deming Border Patrol Station for processing. Migrants frequently underestimate the hostile desert terrain as a means of travel. Agents know it is imperative to be able to react quickly and have the necessary equipment and infrastructure to reach them in time.
Rescue beacons were implemented as a result of the "Safety Border Initiative", which is aimed at increasing public awareness about the inherent dangers of crossing illegally.
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 the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.