Agents save eight people illegal immigrants from Rio Grande river


POSTED: Monday, February 25, 2013 - 5:16pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 9:38am

U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector saved the lives of eight illegal immigrants and discovered the remains of three over the weekend.

Three of the rescues occurred Sunday near Havana when agents assigned to the McAllen Station were patrolling the Rio Grande by boat and encountered four people struggling to stay afloat as they attempted to swim back to Mexico. The agents deployed flotation devices and helped three of the people make it safely to shore. The agents were unable to locate the forth person after seeing him become submerged. Agents thoroughly searched the area but were unable to locate the man.

The remaining five individuals were rescued in three separate incidents at the Falfurrias Checkpoint.

In addition to the rescues, agents found the remains of three individuals Friday, who had perished due to a variety of circumstances. One of the individuals was found in the river south of Hidalgo. The other two were found on ranches in the Kingsville and Falfurrias areas.

So far for fiscal year 2013, which began Oct. 1, 2012, Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector have rescued nearly 260 illegal immigrants whose lives were at risk due to a variety of circumstances. That number represents a more than 140 percent increase in rescues compared to the same time period for fiscal year 2012. Agents have also found the remains of nearly 60 illegal immigrants, an increase of nearly 110 percent.

Illegally entering the United States is extremely dangerous. Extreme weather conditions, combined with rugged terrain, can rapidly cause an individual to become distressed and die from dehydration, exertion or weather-related illnesses. Unscrupulous human smugglers prey upon the desperation of illegal immigrants and exploit them for profit. Human smugglers are ruthless criminals who view the immigrant not as a human being, but as cargo. Immigrants are urged not to put their safety at risk by illegally entering the United States or circumventing a checkpoint.

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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