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CBP Collaboration Leads to Canal Waterway Rescue

Release Date: 
June 16, 2020

EL PASO, Texas – A U.S. Border Patrol Agent assisted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducted an emergency water rescue from a perilous canal near the historic Chihuahuita neighborhood in downtown El Paso.

CBP canal rescue.
CBP canal rescue.

On Friday just after 1 a.m., El Paso Border Patrol Agents observed three people illegally entering the United States just west of the Paso Del Norte international crossing. As the trio were attempting to elude Border Patrol apprehension, CBP Officers who were conducting northbound train inspections at the railroad crossing, spotted them entering the American canal.

The Border Patrol Agent and the three CBP officers noticed the three individuals were in extreme danger in the cold and swift moving waters. One person was quickly swept under the canal water gate. A responding CBP canine officer was able to reach down and pull the person to safety.

As this was happening, the Border Patrol Agent with assistance from the CBP officers secured a water safety line and rescued the remaining two individuals from the canal. All three were Mexican nationals. Two were 18 and one was a 17-year-old.

“Interagency cooperation is an integral part of CBP. In this case the immediate reaction by our agent and the three CBP Officers saved the lives of three individuals who were trapped in the dangerous swift currents of the American canal,” said El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “The inherent danger with attempting to cross into the United States illegally is present, not only in isolated desert areas, or in the hands of criminal organizations but also in the swift waters of the American Canal.” 

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.

Please visit to view additional news releases and other information pertaining to Customs and Border Protection. Follow us on Twitter at @USBPChiefEPT and @CBPWestTexas.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021