CBP: Fugitive apprehensions up in South Texas

Most for child sexual assaults

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

LAREDO, Texas - Thanks to technology, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports fugitive apprehensions are up at eight ports of entry in South Texas.

Mucia Dovalina, spokeswoman for the CBP Laredo Field Office, said so far this year, 1,143 fugitives have been caught, compared with 1,076 during the same time last year. Most of them were wanted for sexually assaulting children.

Dovalina said making a run for the border isn’t what it used to be.

“Now, with the use of technology, it’s practically impossible,” Dovalina said.

She said CBP officers now have a wealth of data from the FBI National Crime Information Center at their fingertips.

“Because of the technology that our officers do have at their disposal, their active warrants are revealed,” Dovalina said.

She said that often happens.

“Yes, you could say that CBP intercepts wanted people almost every day,” Dovalina said.

She said everyone from murderers to probation violators have been taken into custody heading to Mexico and trying to re-enter the United States.

Isidro Espinosa Solis of San Antonio identified himself last year at a Laredo port of entry across from Nuevo Laredo. He was wanted in the deadly hit-and-run of 9-year-old Tatyana Babineaux in San Antonio last year. He has since been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Dovalina said often fugitives who flee to Mexico soon realize they have no family, friends or money.

“You find the need to return to where you do have that support system,” she said.

CBP spokesman Rick Pauza said last year alone, Laredo saw 5.2 million vehicles and 3.3 million pedestrians entering the country, an estimated 16,000 northbound vehicles daily.

Dovalina said CBP officers have only seconds to screen each one, but laser visa cards with radio frequency chips implanted presented by non-U.S. citizens help to speed up the process.

She said not only are they able to verify citizenship, they also can see if they have outstanding warrants or any criminal history.

Dovalina said southbound inspections are kept spontaneous and unpredictable “in order to apprehend those who think they can get through.”

Copyright 2015 by KSAT - All rights reserved.