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U.S. Border Patrol Rescues Seven Stranded Illegal Aliens during Recent Winter Storm

Release Date: 
March 2, 2011

Pine Valley, Calif. - A harsh winter storm hit east San Diego County, delivering freezing rain and up to four feet of snow in some areas. Border Patrol agents responded to the storm this past Saturday, February 26 and rendered life-saving assistance to a group of seven illegal aliens. Additionally, agents recovered the body of an eighth member of the group who had succumbed to the harsh elements.

The U.S. Border Patrol is working with the Government of Mexico to publicize the danger of attempted illegal entry through the east San Diego County mountainous region during winter storms. Also in anticipation of this winter storm, the Border Patrol conducted several interviews with Spanish speaking media to message the dangers of illegally entering through the mountainous region this past weekend.

At approximately 8 p.m., agents assigned to the Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue Team (BORSTAR) were pre-deployed to Pine Valley in anticipation of a winter snow storm. Shortly thereafter, agents responded to a report of eight Mexican nationals lost in a snow storm who had illegally crossed into the United States from Mexico. Agents utilized GPS coordinates produced from a cell phone after one of the distressed individuals called 911.

BORSTAR agents were able to establish communication with the group via cell phone. The caller reported that a member of the group had died since their initial 911 call. At approximately 10:30 p.m., BORSTAR agents located the seven Mexican nationals who were all suffering from hypothermia near the 18 mile marker on Sunrise Highway. BORSTAR agents provided life-saving medical treatment to each member of the group, and extracted them to the highway where they were turned over to local EMS for transport to local hosptials.

BORSTAR agents conduct a winter rescue in the mountains east of San Diego.

BORSTAR agents conduct a winter rescue in the mountains east of San Diego.

At approximately 1 a.m. on Sunday, February 27th, BORSTAR resumed their search for the eighth individual and located him at around 3:30 a.m. utilizing a search and rescue Border Patrol K-9. Agents assessed the individual and found no signs of life. BORSTAR agents extracted the deceased man's body to the highway and turned it over to the local authorities around 5 a.m. Last week, agents assisted in the recovery of two illegal aliens who had succumbed to winter elements in the east San Diego mountainous region of Descanso, Calif.

U.S. Border Patrol San Diego Sector Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Sammie Anderson remarked, "This serves as an example of transnational criminal organizations' prioritization of profits over the value of human life. Our agents will continue to secure our borders through our goal to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat all transnational criminal organizations operating within the San Diego Sector area of influence. This often includes deployment of our highly-trained specialty units to render needed assistance to both U.S. citizens and those who cross our borders illegally."

BORSTAR is the U.S. Border Patrol's premiere border search and rescue team. BORSTAR agents are experts in operating in the border environment, topography, climate and cultural distinctiveness of the border. The teams are comprised of Border Patrol agents trained in the various disciplines of search and rescue and emergency medical treatment.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017