EL PASO, Texas – Agents have discovered a new tactic in counter surveillance as they continue to apprehend large groups and gang members attempting to illegally enter the United States.
As one agent was monitoring the border at night utilizing an infrared camera, he observed a small airborne object traveling northbound across the U.S. International boundary. The object traveled approximately 100 yards over U.S. soil and then return back to Mexico. The object repeated this pattern three times. Approximately two minutes after the object returned back to Mexico for the third time, a group of 10 subjects made an illegal entry into the U.S. in the same area in which the object had been traveling. All 10 subjects were subsequently taken into custody by Border Patrol Agents. This is the first known time in recent history that a drone has been utilized as a ‘look-out’ in order to aid in illegal entries in the El Paso Sector.
Tuesday began with two large groups shortly before 1 a.m. The first group of over 230 people was encountered at the Antelope Wells Port of Entry in the boot heel of New Mexico at 12:45 a.m. The second was encountered just west of Mount Cristo Rey in Sunland Park, New Mexico, consisting of over 360 people around 12:50 am. The Antelope Wells Port of Entry would encounter a second large group of over 130 subjects right before the end of day at 11:45 p.m. The El Paso Sector had over 1,800 apprehensions in total for the entire day of Tuesday, over half of those being in the El Paso Metropolitan area.
This same Tuesday, El Paso Border Patrol Agents arrested Victor Chavez-Ibarra, a 46-year-old Mexican national. During processing it was revealed that Chavez is a known gang member. After submitting his biometric information through various law enforcement databases agents discovered a criminal history that includes: two felony convictions for illegal re-entry into the United States, conviction for burglary of a vehicle in Houston, and arrests for burglary, possession of cocaine, and felony burglary.
That same day, agents in southern New Mexico apprehended a Salvadoran national who was found to be a member of a dangerous Central American gang. In a separate group of illegal aliens, there was another Salvadoran national who had a felony conviction from 2014 for Contact with a Minor for Sexual Offense.
Both gang members and the convicted sex offender have been booked into local jails and are pending criminal prosecution.
The El Paso Sector U.S. Border Patrol continues to maintain its mission and secure our nation’s borders. The El Paso Sector continues to deal with an unprecedented number of apprehensions, as of March 31st of this fiscal year the sector had a little over 71,000 apprehensions. In comparison to the same time frame last fiscal year when the sector had just under 11,000 apprehensions.
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.