Border Patrol Taking Precaution after Rise in Attacks

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MCALLEN - U.S. Border Patrol is rethinking the way agents patrol after seeing a rise in attacks along the river.

Border Patrol said 23 of their Rio Grande Valley sector agents were assaulted with rocks over the last 30 days.

Agents count on their boats to patrol up and down the Rio Grande. They said the vessels are a great tool, but can also leave them vulnerable to attacks.

McAllen Border Patrol agent in charge Melissa A. Lucio said attacks along the McAllen sector are forcing agents to take precaution.

“They actually have to do maneuvers to get out of that area. They also use some form of less lethal ammunitions to protect themselves and each other,” she said.

Lucio said agents were attacked by people on the Mexican side. In one case, a rock damaged the windshield of a Border Patrol boat.

“If you can imagine a baseball-sized rock being thrown at you, it isn’t as if people throwing the rocks are trying to hit the boat. They’re throwing the rocks and it’s just fortunate that an agent hasn’t been injured,” Lucio said.

The sector where the attacks took place stretches from the Hidalgo port of entry to the Hidalgo County line, and out west by Starr County. Many of the incidents are also occurring south of Abram and north of Penitas.

Lucio added the number of people being smuggled in the area has dropped dramatically in the last six weeks. She credited an increase in law enforcement presence in the area.

“We’re there with such a presence, and we’re a lot more effective with how we’re deploying. They’re frustrated,” she said. “They can’t do what it is their business. They want to be able to move people and they can’t do it freely.”

The Border Patrol agents said the frequency of attacks was not usually recorded until this year. She added the agency is reaching out to authorities in Mexico to help track down those responsible for the attacks.

So far, no arrests have been made.

Count on CHANNEL 5 NEWS to bring you more details as they become available. 


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