EL PASO, Texas–Tracking at night is an age-old skill passed along to each new generation of Border Patrol agents, and to this day remains a life-line along the international boundary with Mexico. Those skills combined with modern technology led to the detection of illegal activity and interrupted a human smuggling effort over the weekend south of Interstate-10 in Lordsburg, New Mexico.
The encounter began when agents using night-vision technology spotted two people walking in the desert, north of the U.S./Mexico international boundary. Agents deployed to the area and began tracking the group. Within a few minutes, agents were able to close in and apprehended two subjects who admitted to be citizens of Mexico. One subject who was caught informed the agents there were 12 additional persons trailing them.
Over a span of three hours, agents back-tracked the footprints through the harsh desert terrain, and eventually located those remaining individuals, who were also from Mexico. The entire group was taken back to the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station for processing.
During questioning, agents discovered that one of the subjects may have been assaulted by the two suspected smuggling guides leading the group. Agents contacted Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to assist with the case.
The two purported guides, both 20 years of age, were identified as Victor Favian Valenzula Miranda and Edgar Adrian Diaz Lopez. They are facing charges today of criminal prosecution for alien smuggling. Both of the men are being detained pending prosecution.
These incidents demonstrate how vigilance by U.S. Border Patrol Agents and the ability to rapidly respond to remote areas is combating human smuggling and keeping our communities safe.