Border Patrol Riverine Agents Assaulted with Bricks in Cameron Co.

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BROWNSVILLE – Agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protections’ Brownsville station Riverine Unit were assaulted with bricks hurled from the south of the Rio Grande River.

"Our agents were patrolling on boats and they were assaulted by individuals on the Mexican side," said Omar Zamora, special operations supervisor.

About an hour later, Fort Brown agents intercepted a Jeep Cherokee smugglers floated across the river. Inside, they found bundles of marijuana.

Agents say the driver splashed the vehicle into the river and fled. 

The drugs and vehicle were seized by CBP.

Zamora tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS the attack may have been a diversion.

"They use all kinds of distraction devices or techniques," he said.  

He said bricks are just one of may threats agents face on a daily basis.

"Definitely within rock throwing distance, brick throwing distance. Sometimes they like to tie up ropes or cables to kind of damage the boats," said Zamora.

Residents living in neighborhoods north of the river took note of Monday's events.

"It's very concerning because it's not too far from here," said Hector Espino, a Brownsville resident.

Espino said he lives with his family about a quarter mile from the river. He added their house stands feet away from the existing border fence.

He says the sounds of revving Border Patrol vehicles are a reminder of what goes on.

"That's when you know either a person's crossing or drugs or some kind of activity coming into the U.S.," said Espino "You just hear them race across, left, the right, all day."

Espino showed CHANNEL 5 NEWS a chain link fence the family put up themselves. He tells us it keeps people who enter the country illegally off their property.

''You never know who could pass through here and it's just not safe to have it open," said Espino.

Zamora says agents have their own forms of protection as well. Agents wear and helmets and ballistic armor while on patrol.

He said they're prepared to defend themselves if necessary.

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