Agents rescue 7, seize 2 tons of marijuana

Authorities say man wanted for sexually assaulting child found trying to cross border

U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector said they've saved the lives of seven people, seized more than 2 tons of marijuana and arrested a man with an active warrant over the past weekend.

Agents said they rescued an illegal immigrant from Guatemala who attempted to swim across the Rio Grande near Mission on Saturday night. Agents assigned to the McAllen Border Patrol Station, who were patrolling the river by boat, found the man submerged near the riverbank with only his head sticking out of the water, authorities said. Agents said the man was unresponsive when the agents pulled him from the water and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for evaluation. He will be processed for return to his country of origin.  

Another illegal immigrant, a man from Colombia, was rescued in the brush after he called 911, authorities said. A helicopter from Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine located the man and led agents on the ground to his location. Agents said they rescued five other illegal immigrants under a variety of circumstances from Saturday through Monday.

On Friday, agents assigned to the Brownsville Station said they apprehended an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, who said a human smuggler sexually assaulted her on the riverbank near Hidalgo. The woman was transported to Valley Baptist Medical Center in Brownsville for evaluation.

According to authorities, unscrupulous human smugglers continue to prey on illegal immigrants and exploit them for profit. Human smugglers are ruthless criminals who view the immigrant not as a human being, but as cargo, agents said. Immigrants are urged not to put their safety at risk by illegally entering the United States or circumventing a checkpoint.

So far for fiscal year 2013, Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley said they have rescued nearly 200 illegal immigrants whose lives were at risk due to a variety of circumstances. That number represents a 205 percent increase in rescues compared to the same time period for fiscal year 2012. Agents have also found the remains of 50 illegal immigrants, an increase of nearly 140 percent, authorities said.

In addition to the rescues, agents assigned to the Weslaco Station arrested a wanted man Sunday near Progreso. The man is a United States citizen and was attempting to enter the U.S. without inspection, authorities said. During processing at the station, agents said they discovered the man has an active arrest warrant out of Harris County on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child. The man was turned over to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office pending extradition by the Harris County Sherriff’s Office.

Finally, agents confiscated more than 4,200 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated value of more than $3.4 million, in multiple seizures over the weekend.

To report suspicious activity, call the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector’s toll-free telephone number at 800-863-9382.


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