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2013-07-31 / News

Five immigrants die, border patrol agents rescue three others since Friday

By Enrique Mendiola
U.S. Border Patrol Public Affairs

Summer continues to be deadly for illegal immigrants as five have died, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector have saved the lives of three others over the past four days.

Agents assigned to the Kingsville Station rescued an illegal immigrant from Mexico Friday morning with the help of a helicopter from the Office of Air and Marine. The man was extremely dehydrated and was transported by ambulance to a hospital in Kingsville. Later that afternoon, agents encountered the remains of an illegal immigrant on a ranch near Falfurrias. The cause of death was determined to be exposure to the elements.

Two bodies were found floating in the Rio Grande River by personnel on board an Office of Air and Marine helicopter Saturday. One of the bodies was found south of Hidalgo and the other was found near La Joya.

Agents responded to a call at a ranch near Falfurrias and encountered a man from El Salvador who said his wife died while walking through the brush. The woman’s remains were recovered from the ranch.

Early Monday morning, agents assigned to the McAllen Station helped rescue two women from El Salvador who scaled to the top of the border fence, but were unable to come down. The Hidalgo Fire Department responded to the scene and assisted agents with the rescue.

Finally, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who was found by agents on a ranch near Falfurrias died later that day in an ambulance while en route to a helicopter that was going to transport him to a hospital.

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.

This year, agents have saved the lives of nearly 600 people, an increase of nearly 140 percent when compared to the same time period last year. Additionally, agents have found the remains of more than 120 individuals, an increase of nearly 40 percent.

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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