CALEXICO, Calif. – Border Patrol agents assigned to El Centro Sector recovered the body of a man suspected of illegally entering the U.S. after he drowned on Wednesday night just after 9:00 p.m.
At around 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday night, Border Patrol agents witnessed three individuals illegally enter the U.S. about 2 miles west of the Gran Plaza Outlets near Calexico, CA. Two of the individuals, both men were immediately apprehended after swimming across the All-American Canal. Agents noticed a third man in the canal struggling to stay afloat. Agents were unable to get assistance to the man before he drowned.
Agents with the Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) quickly arrived on scene and attempted to retrieve the man’s body, but had to call off the operation due to heavy rain and low visibility. At 9:00 a.m. the following morning, Thursday, BORSTAR agents resumed their search for the drowned man when conditions were not as hazardous.
At 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, BORSTAR divers located the man’s body submerged in the water about 150 yards from where he entered the water the night before. The man’s body was turned over to the Imperial County Coroner’s Office. The man’s identity and nationality have not yet been determined.
“This incident tragically illustrates how human smuggling organizations place migrants in perilous situations,” said Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “This man put his trust in human smugglers and it cost him his life."
The two individuals the deceased man was traveling with were nationals of El Salvador.
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.