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Operation Sandman Leads to 204 Arrests for Human Smuggling

Release Date: 
March 23, 2018

YUMA, Ariz. – Special Operations and Intelligence Border Patrol agents detected and apprehended 204 suspects near the Imperial Sand Dunes west of Yuma, during a three-week Border Patrol operation between February and March.

Agents from Yuma Sector’s Special Operations Detachment and Intelligence Unit, along with El Centro Sector’s Intelligence Unit apprehended 175 foreign nationals who illegally entered the United States near the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. Twenty-nine additional subjects, many United States citizens, were arrested for coordinating and facilitating human smuggling attempts. Several subjects attempted to evade apprehension by running, or jumping into irrigation canals, and fleeing in vehicles. Nineteen vehicles involved were seized.

“Coordination, integration, and rapid adaptation are key elements of success in securing our nation’s borders,” said Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Agent Anthony J. Porvaznik. “The hardworking men and women in the operation significantly impacted the transnational criminal organizations exploiting our communities.”

Yuma Sector SOD is comprised of certified special operations agents from the Special Operations Group; the Border Patrol Search Trauma & Rescue Unit; and the Border Patrol Tactical Unit. Agents assigned to this unit undergo an intense training regimen before being certified SOD agents.

Yuma and El Centro Sector intelligence units are responsible for prioritizing, analyzing and providing intelligence support through specialized teams and units that counteract terrorism and transnational crime. SIU enhances intelligence data collection processes ensuring U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Border Patrol objectives are achieved.

Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents effectively combat smuggling organizations attempting to illegally transport people and contraband through Southwestern Arizona and California. Citizens can help the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling 1-866-999-8727 toll-free to report suspicious activity. Callers can remain anonymous.

Last modified: 
March 26, 2018