Edinburg, Texas - U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley sector saved the lives of 28 illegal aliens in several separate incidents over the past five days.
"Fortunately our agents were able to save these people's lives, but sadly these types of incidents often end tragically," said Chief Patrol Agent Rosendo Hinojosa. "People need to realize the border area is a harsh environment that should not be underestimated or taken for granted. In addition, placing yourself in the hands of smugglers is a dangerous decision - one that can cost you your life."
Agents assigned to the Falfurrias checkpoint were inspecting a trailer Thursday evening when a Border Patrol canine team alerted. As agents opened the trailer, they found 12 people hidden among cardboard boxes. The group appeared to be in good health but were all sweating profusely and claimed to have difficultly breathing from the heat inside the trailer.
Agents from the Falfurrias Station rescued seven people Friday after the group activated a rescue beacon on a ranch near Falfurrias, Texas. The group consisted of four Guatemalans, two Haitians and one Mexican. The group told agents that they had been lost in the brush for three days.
Earlier on Friday, agents from the McAllen station were patrolling near Penitas, Texas, when they saw a group of people swimming in the Rio Grande. One of the people became fatigued and could no longer swim. Agents patrolling the river by boat arrived on scene and threw the person a rescue line and a floatation device. The agents were able to get the distressed swimmer onto the patrol boat and safely ashore.
Additional rescues in the Rio Grande Valley sector occurred throughout the weekend. All of the rescued individuals were offered medical attention and processed to be returned to their countries of origin.
To report suspicious activity, call the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector's toll-free telephone number at 1-800-863-9382.