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By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Smugglers cut the old border wall to facilitate an alien smuggling attempt.
November 21, 2019 (Campo) -- U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 16 individuals Wednesday afternoon after smugglers cut the old landing mat border wall to facilitate a vehicle drive-thru human smuggling incident.

The event began around 3:45 p.m., when agents on duty near Campo reported an incursion at the international border wall.  A white Dodge 4500 utility truck had crossed into the U.S. from Mexico.  Agents in the vicinity were alerted of the incursion, the Border Patrol reports. 

At approximately 4 p.m., agents observed a man with bolt cutters attempting to cut a lock on a local resident’s private gate with a truck matching the description of the suspect vehicle. Agents activated their emergency lights and siren to stop the suspect vehicle, but the driver refused to yield and fled.
After a short pursuit, the truck stopped and the driver and passengers fled.  Agents tracked down the subjects and arrested the driver and 15 passengers.  All 16 admitted to entering the U.S. illegally and were transported to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing.  
The group included nine Mexican national males between ages 15 and 53 and five Mexican national females between the ages of 18 and 40.  There were also two Guatemalan nationals, a 28-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman.
The stolen utility truck was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
“A vehicle drive-thru, with overloaded and unsecured passengers, particularly in this terrain, can certainly result in a rollover accident with serious injuries and death,” said San Diego Sector Interim Chief Douglas Harrison.  “The breach of this old landing mat wall is illustrative of the need for more hardened infrastructure with greater impedance and denial capabilities to keep the area secure.  I’m proud of our agents’ steadfast vigilance that put a stop to this smuggling attempt.”
Even newer infrastructure is not impenetrable, however. A property owner along the border in Campo pointed out sections of the border wall built under both the Bush and Obama administrations on his property, then pointed to razor wire on top. “That was added by Trump,” he said.
ECM’s editor asked how well the razor-topped wall was working. The property owner replied, “See that mattress?” noting that immigrants are now scaling the wall and putting a mattress atop the razor wire before lowering themselves with rope onto the U.S. side.
Elsewhere along the border this week, a teen was arrested for smuggling drugs across the border with a small remote-controlled vehicle. Drones have also been intercepted with drugs attached. From tunnels under the border wall to a catapult used to vault contraband items over the wall, smugglers continue to try innovative smuggling methods – though they are often apprehended in the process.
To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.

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