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Desperate smugglers splashdown to evade Rio Grande Valley agents

Release Date: 
June 29, 2017

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Agents assigned to the Brownsville Border Patrol station prevented a large amount of suspected narcotics from entering the United States this week.

Splashdown vehicle full of marijuana in the Rio Grade
Splashdown vehicle full of marijuana
in the Rio Grade

Tuesday morning, Border Patrol agents working near the Rio Grande in Brownsville observed a pickup truck loaded with what appeared to be bundles driving through a local golf course. As the agents responded, the driver turned around and drove his vehicle into the river. The driver and another subject were able to swim back across the river to Mexico. Agents then recovered 37 bundles of narcotics that tested positive for marijuana and had a weight of more than 800 pounds valued at $641,320.

This type of tactic, where a drug smuggler attempts to evade arrest by driving their vehicle into the river is commonly referred to as a “splashdown”. As of fiscal year 2017, which began October 1, 2016, the Rio Grande Valley Sector has seen an increase in splashdown activity. Of the 14 reported so far, Rio Grande City (RGC) Station has had a total of 10 events. RGC is also the station with the most narcotic seizures in the RGV Sector which makes it one of the most volatile areas along the Southwest border region.

The public is encouraged to take a stand against crime in their communities and to help save lives by reporting suspicious activity at 800-863-9382. Please visit to view additional news releases and other information pertaining to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021