IMPERIAL, CALIF.—El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents had a busy weekend that included the arrest of a dangerous gang member, a desert rescue, and a seized airplane resulting in the arrest of four men in a human smuggling scheme.
The first incident occurred Saturday morning, at approximately 2 a.m., when dispatch received a call from the California Highway Patrol of three likely illegal aliens lost within the San Diego-Imperial Valley mountainous area. In an effort to conduct a rapid search and rescue, the San Diego Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine was contacted for assistance. During the search CBP aircraft was able to spot three men. Border Patrol agents on the ground responded to the area and rescued all three men. One of the men stated he had been without water for two days. The illegal aliens were examined by an Emergency Medical Technician and found to be in stable condition. The men were determined to be Mexican citizens illegally present in the United States and were transported to the El Centro Border Patrol station for processing and further evaluation.
The second incident also occurred on Saturday, at approximately 7 a.m., when Border Patrol agents witnessed three males, all suspected illegal aliens, arrive via car at the Imperial County Airport and board a small private airplane. Border Patrol agents arrived at the boarding gate and met with the pilot. Agents questioned the pilot regarding the three men aboard his plane. The men were questioned and each stated that they were citizens of Mexico with no immigration documents to be legally present in the United States. The men and pilot were placed under arrest. The airplane was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
The third significant event of the weekend also occurred on Saturday. At approximately 9 a.m., agents assigned to the El Centro Border Patrol station arrested a 29-year-old man, a Mexican national who illegally entered the United States approximately 22 miles west of the Calexico California west Port of Entry. Record checks revealed that the man had an extensive criminal history and is an active member in a dangerous gang operating out of Santa Ana, Calif. In 2006, an Immigration Judge had ordered the man deported. The man is being held for criminal prosecution.
The El Centro Sector's Community Awareness Campaign is a simple and effective program to raise public awareness on the indicators of crime and other threats. We encourage public and private sector employees to remain vigilant and play a key role in keeping our country safe. Please report any suspicious activity to the Border Community Threat Hotline at (800) 901-2003.
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.