Rock Throwing Attacks on Border Patrol Agents on the Rise

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HIDALGO – U.S. Border Patrol said there is an increase in rock throwing attacks against agents along the Rio Grande.

Border Patrol reported several agents were the targets of another attack Thursday afternoon near Hidalgo. This is the fifth incident in a month.

The agency said rocks can cause serious injuries to agents and damage to equipment.

U.S. Border Patrol Supervisor Andy Caballero said he’s experienced the attacks. He said he used to patrol on boats earlier in his career.

“It’s happening more frequently. Last week we had three. Just about an hour ago we had another one,” he said.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS went on patrol with Border Patrol agents a year ago. We witnessed how groups of men on the Mexican side observed us closely and then started throwing rocks.

“They’re ambush points. We’ll be coming around a bend and they’ll be waiting in those areas for an ambush,” Caballero said.

Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan said more than 7,400 agents were attacked since 2006. He said there was a 200 percent increase in assaults from last year.

On Wednesday, Morgan addressed members of Congress about his observations in the first four months of his job.

Caballero said agents are vulnerable to these attacks even though they undergo training twice a year. He said agents sustain bad injuries like broken cheek bones, stitches and eye socket injuries.

He claimed the attacks happen as Border Patrol increases its presence along the river.

“You really don’t think about that too much. You try to do your job. You know the threats are there and you try to avoid getting hit,” he said.

U.S. Border Patrol said the attackers of Thursday’s incident dispersed without agents using any force. They encourage people to report any dangerous activity by calling their hotline at 1-800-863-9382.

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