On Sept.7, 2017, a U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) agent from the Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station attempted to stop a vehicle suspected of smuggling narcotics near Garceno, Texas. The driver failed to yield, and eventually turned onto a narrow, one-lane county road and accelerated southbound toward the Rio Grande River.
A second agent, who was patrolling nearby, heard the call of a fleeing vehicle over his USBP radio and moved to assist. That agent encountered the subject vehicle as he was driving northbound toward the highway on the narrow county road. Believing that the suspected smuggler intended to ram his marked USBP vehicle head-on at a high rate of speed, the agent discharged four rounds from his CBP-issued handgun through his windshield at the driver of the oncoming vehicle.
As the agent discharged his weapon, the vehicle swerved to its left and drove up onto the dirt embankment on the east side of the road. After passing the agent, the vehicle swerved back down to the road and continued southbound, before crashing through a large metal gate and deliberately driving into the Rio Grande River. The driver then exited the vehicle, swam back to Mexico, and was picked up by a vehicle on the Mexican side of the river.
No injuries were observed or reported. Agents subsequently recovered 40 bundles of marijuana (approximately 480 pounds) from the vehicle.
Result of the NUFRB
On Feb. 25, 2021, the CBP National Use of Force Review Board (NUFRB) convened to review this use of force incident. The NUFRB determined that the discharge of a CBP-issued handgun was in compliance with CBP use of force policy in effect at the time of the incident.
Consistent with their responsibility to review this incident and make recommendations regarding training, tactics, policy, or equipment, the NUFRB made a formal recommendation following their consideration of this incident.