EDINBURG, Texas – The U.S. Border Patrol said it rescued a little girl, 4, on Tuesday who had been shot days earlier by bandits who were robbing a train loaded with immigrants in Mexico.
The child was taken to a hospital in the Rio Grande Valley, where she was being treated in intensive care.
After crossing the Rio Grande, the girl’s mother, who is from El Salvador, told agents that a gun that was used to beat a helpless man had gone off, the bullet hitting her daughter in the shoulder.
The mother said the train conductor took her little girl to a small hospital where they removed the bullet, but then the smugglers put them in a stash house in Mexico. The house had been crammed with people, many of them children.
In its news release, the U.S. Border Patrol said, “There were no antibiotics, no sterile dressings, no medications and no sympathy” for the wounded child, who was still in pain.
The child’s mother said she was told by the caretaker that if her daughter didn’t stop crying, she could “sleep outside with the dogs.”
The mother said they were “treated like cargo, worse than animals.” And yet she saw other families and children traveling alone being treated even worse.
The woman told agents young girls had been being forced to stay in rooms with strange men as punishment for not keeping quiet.
“It’s heartbreaking to hear about a child being hurt by smugglers,” said Manuel Padilla Jr., chief patrol agent for the Rio Grande Valley sector. “It is a travesty that migrants, innocent women and children, put their trust in these people who see them as nothing more than a commodity to make money.”
Agents believe the smugglers may be affiliated with cartel activity.
Padilla urged the public to report illegal activity, such as stash houses that also operate in the U.S., by calling 1-800-863-9382.