SANTA TERESA, N.M. – A suspected human smuggler was apprehended during a joint operation between the U.S. Border Patrol and the Government of Mexico on Nov. 25.
The individual being charged in Mexico for cutting the border barrier facilitated the illegal entry of multiple individuals. El Paso Sector Border Patrol Agents and Ciudad Juarez Police Department Officers conducting mirrored patrols along the US/Mexico international boundary encountered a group of four individuals attempting to enter the United States near the Santa Teresa port of entry. CJPD officers apprehended the group on the Mexican side of the border. One member of the group was in possession of a set of bolt cutters at the time of the arrest. The man, a 20-year-old citizen of Mexico, was turned over to Government of Mexico’s General Prosecutor’s Office for prosecution under the Fence Cutter Initiative.
In August, the El Paso Sector in August announced the Fence Cutter Initiative. This initiative, in collaboration with the Government of Mexico, seeks the prosecution of individuals caught damaging the border barrier with the intent of smuggling people and contraband into the United States. Transnational Criminal Organizations operating in the El Paso Sector frequently use bolt cutters, grinders, and acetylene torches to breach the border barrier, as it represents a challenge to Transnational Criminal Organizations who are organizing and executing daily illegal smuggling attempts.
Since FY22 began in Oct, El Paso Sector has identified more than 198 breaches. Cost to repair ranges from $300 to $400 depending on location and type of barrier.
“Our partnership with the Government of Mexico has been invaluable and we are increasing accountability one breach at a time,” said El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “The Fence Cutter Initiative is ground roots level effort enacted by officers and agents keeping our shared border safe and secure.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens are encouraged to report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol while remaining anonymous by calling 1-800-635-2509.