Several days ago, the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) caught an attempted murder suspect wanted by authorities in Bakersfield, Calif., attempting to reenter the US near the Colorado River in Yuma, Ariz., after hiding in Mexico, according to a US CBP “heroes” list released yesterday. The list of recent “success stories” has a number of diverse entries from the past two months, from hair-raising to satisfying.
The list reads more like a police log for our national boundaries, with events that range from “gave assistance” notations to major criminal arrests, giving perspective on the CBP for those who never venture to the areas they serve, and don’t get a chance to observe the balance between careful observation and judgment and keeping the borders carefully open. The CBP site also includes a live table of border crossing times, which at midnight Eastern time showed everything from quiet zero-wait situations on some southern and most northern crossing points, to a ten-lane crossing in Texas with nearly an hour wait.
Some stories reflect cooperation of Border Patrol agents with other agencies in their area. An off-duty Border Patrol Agent in San Diego stopped to check on an accident victim, and wound up arresting the driver of the other vehicle who attempted to run from the scene. In Chimney Park, Texas, on June 17, Border Patrol Agents helped in the rescue of five teens, who “were lucky to be alive after the car they were in plunged into a canal.”
Other stories reflect the attentive work that resulted in known criminals or criminal suspects being arrested on their way into the US, whether from the north or from the south. A rapist who was returned to Mexico after serving an eight-year sentence was caught attempting to reenter the US, and a man claiming to be a Mexican tourist wanting to visit the US turned out to have jumped bail in Illinois after a 1987 arrest for sexual assault.
Stories of the protection of children from criminals or misguided adults are particularly heart wrenching. A Cuban man, a legal permanent resident, wanted on a felony warrant for molestation of a child under 12, was discovered attempting to enter via Buffalo, New York. Three male infants were discovered in a Mexican taxicab being brought in by two women, with the infants dressed in girls’ clothing to match their female documentation, and drugged with Halcion. The infants’ mother, who remained in Mexico, was identified, and they were returned to the care of Mexican social services.
Drug smuggling is a frequent target as well. In various incidents, the CBP recently confiscated $2.2 million worth of marijuana. They also, with the help of a trained dog, discovered a man being smuggled in the trunk of a car entering from Mexico.
As in above cases where Border Patrol Agents acted on suspicion only to have their suspicions confirmed by data in law enforcement computers, sometimes their results can be significant. Agents in El Paso, Texas apprehended Abel Diaz-Lucas, also known as Jorge Guevara Perez and “La Marrana,” The Pig, alleged head of a multi-state crime syndicate in at least 5 Mexican states and Mexico City, wanted by the Mexican government since 2002. A main activity of the syndicate was kidnapping, and they were known for their brutality, often cutting off the ears and fingers of their victims.