DEL RIO, TX – Oh, but there’s no crisis at the border, right?
On August 14th, agents from the Border Patrol paired up with local law enforcement to look for human smuggling cases. Their teamwork thwarted 12 human smuggling attempts over two days.
Border Patrol agents at the Freer checkpoint foiled another callous human smuggling attempt. https://t.co/hcVYvX4rgs
— KGNS News (@KGNSnews) August 20, 2020
Agents from the Del Rio area of Border Patrol worked with local law enforcement members seeking out human smuggling across the border.
Federal Agents worked with the troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Edwards County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement from the US Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations to achieve one goal – identify and stop human trafficking across the US border.
The federal agents that patrol the border between US and Mexico near Del Rio reported seeing a group of illegal aliens get into a truck on Highway 277.
Federal agents stopped the vehicle and conducted their investigation. During their investigation, they learned the driver, a US citizen, and the passenger was a Mexican national. The two people had their two children with them in the vehicle.
In addition to these people, there were also two other people inside the vehicle which were in the United States illegally. The two illegal aliens were taken into custody pending deportation, while the other two occupants were taken into custody for human smuggling.
On the next day, federal agents were notified by Texas Department of Public Safety that one of their troopers attempted to stop a vehicle which fled from them. The driver led police in a high-speed vehicle pursuit, speeds higher than 100mph, until deputies with the Edwards County Sheriff’s office deployed stop sticks which ended the pursuit. Police contacted the eight occupants which were all taken into custody.
The arresting trooper was able to identify the driver who was a United States citizen. The remaining seven people were all determined to be illegal aliens, including a 7-year-old Honduran child. All seven were taken into custody without incident.
During their two day efforts, law enforcement reports that they were able to identify and take 14 different people into custody for human smuggling. Nine of those people were US citizens, the remaining were either Cuban or Mexican nationals. The illegal aliens who were stopped were from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Cuba, and Guatemala.
All of the illegal aliens were subjected to a medical screening and background checks as required by United States law. Once they were cleared that process, all 48 illegal aliens were deported to Mexico.
The 14 people who were arrested face federal charges for alien smuggling. For those who are convicted under this federal statute, they could face up to 10 years in prison.
In July, Border Patrol was able to stop at least four different alien smuggling attempts which resulted in the arrest of 12 people. Agents at the Javier Vega, Jr. checkpoint were performing immigration inspections on three different people inside of a vehicle.
Human Smuggling Stash House Busted in Texas near Border. Anyone else notice these busts are happening more frequently. And during Obama barely happened if at all? https://t.co/hz6BsfBZxV
— Thought Provoker (@davidjwhite68) July 16, 2020
While they were conducting their investigation, one of the people inside the car was identified as being a Mexican national who had entered the country illegally. That subject was taken into custody, facing deportation. The driver also faces human smuggling charges.
Agents in the area of San Manuel, Texas attempted a traffic stop on a truck which had been suspected of harboring illegal aliens. The driver refused to stop and the lost control of the vehicle, veering off of the roadway.
The vehicle came to a stop and the occupants jumped out and fled into the wood line. Agents were able to locate two of the occupants which were determined to be in the country illegally.
In Rio Grande, federal agents attempted to stop a Ford Ranger whose driver was suspected of human smuggling. As agents effected the stop, the driver fled from the police and struck a fence and came to a stop. The occupants fled the scene on foot and federal police were able to take one illegal alien into custody.
And just look back at the bust in Edinburg, Texas earlier this month.
Law enforcement from the McAllen Police Department and the United States Border Patrol responded to a report of shots fired at a residence on the morning of August 9th.
Upon their arrival, they learned there were 10 people inside the residence and located at least one firearm. Nine of the people located were illegal aliens, the tenth, a juvenile US citizen, was arrested for the weapons violation.
Police are not releasing much information regarding the actual cause of the dispatch but did confirm that the child was arrested for the offense.
The other nine were illegal aliens and were taken into custody by federal agents from the Weslaco Border Patrol Station. Thankfully, there were no injuries reported in the shooting incident.
Border Patrol has released information that they are coming across more armed individuals while conducting smuggling investigations than in years past.
They advise that agents just in the Rio Grande Valley area have taken more than 100 firearms off of people, almost double what it was during the same time frame in 2019. In addition to the firearms being taken off the street, other crimes and criminals have been stopped by agents of the Border Patrol.
On August 10th, agents at the Falfurrias checkpoint noticed a 20-year-old acting nervous, and so they asked him for consent to search his trunk.
Consent was gained and they located a Guatemalan juvenile hidden in the trunk which had a temperature of 103 degrees. The juvenile was assessed for medical care and the driver was arrested.
Despite the threat of COVID-19 and the increasing summer heat, smugglers continue to endanger lives and the health and safety of our nation. https://t.co/TSTe7zXw8l
— KENS 5 (@KENS5) August 7, 2020
Agents are also reporting numerous stops of illegal aliens and other criminals coming into the country illegally in the Rio Grande area. In one report, on August 13th, they were able to stop a Guatemalan citizen, identified as Dagoberto Sajche-Ajche from coming into the country. He was a convicted sex offender from Chicago, his conviction stemmed from an aggravated sexual abuse case.
In other news on the border, agents in the Rio Grande Valley were able to stop more than 700 pounds of marijuana from entering into the United States. On August 12th, Fort Brown agents saw two people carrying what they believed to be packages of drugs after they had illegally crossed into the United States.
RGV #USBP agents intercept more than $570K worth of drugs. Since Saturday, agents have seized more than 700 pounds of marijuana. Even with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, smugglers continue to try these brazen attempts. #BorderSecurity https://t.co/GQYO903ff9 pic.twitter.com/ZQZcsgrtWc
— CBP RGV (@CBPRGV) August 11, 2020
Agents moved in and the people dropped the drugs and ran, not planning on Border Patrol finding them. Agents used a K9 team which was able to locate and apprehend the two illegal aliens from Mexico. The drugs seized during the arrest weighed more than 70 pounds and is estimated to be worth more than $59,000.
On August 13th, agents working in the area of Weslaco received a report of some type of illicit activity near the Rio Grande. As the agents responded to the area, they found a man carrying another bag of what they believed to be drugs walking toward the river.
As they approached the man dropped the bag and jumped into the river with seven other people swimming back to Mexico. Agents found the bag and discovered 187 pounds of marijuana, valued at more than $149,000.
A few hours after that report, agents working near La Rosita saw several people also carrying what they suspected to be drugs entering into the United States along the riverbank. Afterwards, they saw what they believed to be the group loading drugs into an SUV. As the SUV left the area, agents were able to stop it, the occupants of the vehicle fled and were not located.
Upon a search of the vehicle, agents discovered over 460 pounds of marijuana which had an estimated worth of $375,000.
All these arrests, drug, and gun seizures on the border are rarely covered, at least not nationally. Democratic leaders would like you to believe that the only people coming into the country illegally are those that are simply looking for a better way of life and calls any racist who disagrees.
Maybe, just maybe, President Trump has been right when he has stated several times that drugs are flowing over the border.
We suspected the media wasn’t telling America about what’s really happening at the border. We were right.
Editor note: At the bottom of the article is the exclusive video that our team at Law Enforcement Today created in partnership with our friends at Inforce.
Special thanks to Art Del Cueto for giving a true look at what it takes to defend America… and to Inforce for helping keeping those who serve and protect safe.
Charles Dickens may have said it best in the opening paragraph of his novel A Tale of Two Cities.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
While it was set historically against the French Revolution and contrasted London and Paris, it strikes amazingly true when used to contrast what we are experiencing right here in America, right now.
If Dickens were alive today, he could change the title to A Tale of Two Americas.
The amazing success that we are seeing as a nation under the current administration versus the all-out assault we are facing on our southern border.
Recently, a tour was conducted at that very location. The tour guide was Art Del Cueto, National Vice President of the Border Patrol Council. A segment of this tour and the conversation with our guide can be seen below.
Here is a little about Art’s career.
Art has been with Border Patrol since 2003. His first duty station was Casa Grande, Arizona, where he helped in the effort to establish a new substation at Three Points, Arizona.
Throughout most of his career, he patrolled on the Tohono O’odham reservation, assisting on numerous drug and smuggling cases.
He responds to over 90% of all significant incidents within the Tucson Sector including shootings, accidents, and agent assaults. As an agent who is fluent in Spanish, he routinely leads the questioning of apprehended subjects.
Art has also worked for the National Border Patrol Council for the last ten years. He currently serves as President of Local 2544. Prior to working for Border Patrol, Art worked for a maximum-security state prison in Tucson. Art has lived most of his life in Arizona.
On this particular tour, Agent Del Cueto takes us back even further than his CBP days.
“I grew up in a small town, a border town called Douglas, Arizona. I grew up seeing border patrol do their job,” he said. “I’ve always seen border patrol out here, I’ve always seen law enforcement, and I have always gravitated towards that.”
Art was born in Mexico. His father was an immigrant who came to the US legally.
“My dad always taught us to be grateful to be in this country,” Del Cueto said. “I think that was the foundation that helped me get to where I am constantly at.”
“I grew up on the border, I was born on the border, I was raised on the border, I’ve worked on the border,” he continues. “I know what is happening out here.”
So, what exactly are the types of things he is referring to when he says he knows what is happening?
This week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued the following press release.
The headline reads: Recently Convicted Child Sex Offender Arrested by Border Patrol Agents.
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a previously deported child sex offender near Sasabe Thursday afternoon.
Tucson Sector agents patrolling the desert apprehended 22-year-old Alexander Morales-Domingo, a Guatemalan national, around 6 p.m.
Records checks revealed Morales-Domingo was convicted of lewd or lascivious behavior/lewd or lascivious battery – sexual act with a person 12-15 years of age in Collier County, Florida, December 6, 2019. He was sentenced to five years’ probation and ordered removed from the country December 26, 2019.
As a previously deported sex offender, Morales-Domingo faces federal prosecution for criminal immigration violations.
All persons apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol undergo criminal history checks using biometrics to ensure illegal aliens with criminal histories are positively identified.
So, in a matter of 60 days, an illegal immigrant was convicted of sexual misconduct of a minor in Florida, was removed from the country and was subsequently arrested 2,310 miles away, back in the US.
This case is just one of a thousand stories we could tell about the struggle at our border to keep our citizenry safe.
But it strikes at the heart of what Del Cueto sees every day.
Continuing his tour, he said that they have better structure where he is than a lot of other areas have.
Pointing to the 15’ tall fence and the razor wire, he said that the wire was added when President Trump stepped up and dedicated resources to better secure our border.
Del Cueto said that a common occurrence was seeing groups who would come up to the fence and weld small pieces of metal to the south side of the fence and make a ladder. Then they would just repel down.
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
“What I want people to understand is, it’s not just a bunch of dumb farmers over there (pointing across the border towards Mexico) doing this,” said the veteran agent. “They are very organized. It is a very organized criminal organization.”
He pointed to one of the major flaws in our current immigration system.
You can be a convicted criminal in your own country, guilty of heinous crimes, but if you have never been to the U.S. and committed a crime, you come here, CBP will run you through the system and your record shows clean, not knowing what crimes you may have committed in your own country or others.
“We have people renting their kids out in Mexico, because they know that exposes a loophole in immigration,” stated a frustrated Del Cueto. “You cannot detain these children for more than 20 days. Then the child goes back to Mexico, where they will rent them out again.”
“This area has been notorious for drugs coming into the country for as long as I can remember.”
He called these smugglers (both humans and drugs) extremely sophisticated, pointing to the types of technology that they use.
Two examples: they have night vision, and they set up communications via towers and even underground telephone trunk cables for long range capabilities.
Describing the depths of the problem at our border, he recounted one particular experience.
“I specifically can tell you, that I have seen the same guy, a Mexican national, during the last administration (Barack Obama), deported 17 times.”
Based on the latest figures we could find, the average cost of detention for one individual was $5,633 and the average cost of deportation was $10,854. Using those numbers, it cost U.S. taxpayers $280,000. That is just one guy.
In Fiscal Year 2016, ICE and CBP spent $3.2 billion to identify, arrest, detain and deport undocumented and criminal aliens.
Stepping aside from the human aspect of the southern border, Del Cueto pointed to another problem. Sewage pipes on the Mexican side of the border burst. It was spilling raw human sewage at a rate of up to 40,000 gallons a day at some points.
The ranchers in the area rely on well water for their crops and livestock. The sewage was seeping into the ground and contaminating wells.
How was that addressed? Chlorine tablets. Someone threw chlorine tablets into 40,000 gallons of raw sewage.
LET carried a story dedicated to this issue, which you can read here.
Now back to the people.
“When you are patrolling in the day, your vision is a lot better,” Del Cueto told us. “At night, it is more difficult, and you count on equipment to help you patrol this area.”
Continuing, he said:
“I can’t call for back up and say I am at 5th street and 6th Avenue. You’re in the middle of nowhere.”
Hearing the inflection in Del Cueto’s voice at this point helps you understand just how dire the situation often is for the agents tasked with securing our borders.
The area he works holds the record for number of illegal immigrants apprehended in one year.
“The largest group I ever encountered alone was 80 people,” he said. “You have to wait for backup. You have to wait for transport.”
One of the issues he touched on was the difficulty that CBP has in getting agents.
“One of the issues that we fell into was that border patrol agents received a pay cut, no other individuals in CBP did.”
He pointed at the remote locations and the long hours as other deterrents to the recruiting effort.
Del Cueto is not shy in addressing what it will take.
“We need more politicians that are behind us. We need more media that is willing to tell the story. And, we need more managers in our own agency that are willing to be leaders and lead from the front.”
Winding down the tour and the conversation, Del Cueto gave us insight as to why he fights this battle and why it is important.
“I know America is not perfect. I don’t think anyone is going to tell you it is. But it is better than anything else, and we need to preserve that. This is the only country that has individuals constantly wanting to ‘break in’ you could say, not be detected and remain here.
If we open our borders, if we lower our vetting process, then is America going to be as great as it has always been, or are we diminishing it?”
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!