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Tag: Border Patrol

Interior Department Dispatching Officers to Help Secure Border with Mexico

Border marker, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Interior Department is dispatching officers to help secure the border with Mexico.

Officers from the U.S. Park Police Planning Unit (USPP) and the National Park Service will help Homeland Security along the southwest border beginning May 13 as part of “Secretary [Ryan] Zinke’s offer of assistance to the Department of Homeland Security,” according to an internal email obtained by The Hill

The assignment is a dramatic departure from what USPP officers are traditionally tasked with doing – policing NPS property in Washington D.C., New York and San Francisco.

According to the email, officers will spend about three weeks stationed at two national parks and monument sites along the border – Amsted National Recreation Area in Texas and the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona.

Dispatching officers from the federal agencies is “the first of many steps Interior will take to secure the homeland.”

President Trump and I are 100 percent committed to keeping our border communities and the American people safe and secure, which is why I’m deploying some of Interior’s law enforcement officers to increase security on the southern border,” Zinke told the Hill in a statement. “Interior is ready, willing, and able to deploy a significant force to carry out the President’s mission.” 

FBI Investigating 2 Separate Attacks on Border Patrol Agents

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating two attacks against Border Patrol agents in south Laredo.

One case involves drug smugglers who chucked rebar spikes at agents. In the second case, human smugglers are accused of striking an agent with a Chevrolet Suburban, the Laredo Morning Times reports. 

In the first case, occupants of another Suburban were approached by agents attempting to perform a vehicle stop. The occupants threw handmade rebar spikes at the agents, strike and damaging a Border Patrol vehicle.

The occupants were arrested, and agents said they found four bundles of marijuana worth an estimated $225,000.

In the second case, agents were pursuing a gray Chevrolet Suburban for failing to yield to a Border patrol vehicle. An agent was taken to the hospital after being injured when the Suburban crashed into the Border Patrol vehicle. All six occupants were immediately apprehended.

“These events illustrate the dangers the men and women of the United States Border Patrol face every day in securing our border. Criminal organizations have no regard for human life and pose a threat to law enforcement and the community,” said Laredo Sector Acting Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Anthony Scott Good.

Building a Border Wall in Rio Grande Valley Is Fraught with Challenges, Potential Lawsuits

The Rio Grande in Big Bend.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Building a wall along the busiest stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border – the Rio Grande Valley – has proven to be much trickier than Donald Trump suggested during his presidential campaign. 

That’s because land along the Rio Grande River in this area is essentially a floodplain where construction is prohibited under water treaties with Mexico. Much of the land also is owned by resident and businesses.

The Los Angeles Times examined communities along the river and found that erecting a wall presents a monumental challenge fraught with potential lawsuits from landowners, environmental groups and even Mexico. 

Congress approved $1.6 billion in March to build a border wall and fencing along 100 miles of land in Texas, California and New Mexico. About 33 miles of that is in the Rio Grand Valley, where Border Patrol most needs the help.

But which border towns along the Rio Grand Valley get a wall is still unclear.

Israel Cantu Amador, who lives along the Rio Grande, said he’d rather see more Border Patrol agents than a wall.

“It’s nonsense,” the 65-year-old said. “Iron gates, wooden gates — they’re going to come through.”

Dozens of Asylum-Seeking Migrants Stopped at Border, But Pledge Defiance

Border marker, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Dozens of asylum-seeking migrants who traveled more than a month from Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border are defiantly pledging to remain outside an immigrant processing center until they are admitted into the country.

Border Patrol officials alerted the migrants, many traveling with children, that they couldn’t be processed because of space constraints.

“CBP facilities at capacity at San Ysidro. They won’t be taking any more until space becomes available,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “At this time, we have reached capacity at the San Ysidro port of entry for CBP officers to be able to bring additional persons traveling without appropriate entry documentation into the port of entry for processing.”

But when space opens and “resources become available,” officers “will be able to take additional individuals into the port for processing.

The monthlong journey of more than 1,000 migrants began in southern Mexico near the Guatemala border. They traveled by bus, train and foot during, with many saying that were escaping violence and persecution in their home countries.

If migrants manage to get processed, they would be taken a detention center and interviewed by an asylum officer. But whether the U.S. plans to offer asylum remains unclear.

President Trump last week pledged to “stop” the caravan, but the migrants appeared ready for a possible showdown.

Border Patrol Agent Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison for Helping Smuggle Drugs

Border marker, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent who helped smuggle what he thought were drugs along the U.S.-Mexican border, was sentenced to 70 months in prison Wednesday.

Noe Lopez, 38, believed he was helping deliver meth and cocaine that was dropped off at the border, but he actually was talking to a confidential informant.

“You held a position of trust,” U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw scolded Lopez. “This was the ultimate betrayal and breach of that trust.”

Lopez apologized for his actions.

“It’s something I regret — I’m going to regret — the rest of my life,” said Lopez, who worked out of the Imperial Beach station.

Border Patrol Agent Acquitted in Shooting Death of Mexican Teen

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Prosecutors are mulling whether they should pursue a retrial in the case of a Border Patrol agent charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting a teenager after an Arizona jury deadlocked on the lesser accounts.

The jury found Agent Lonnie Swartz not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was with a group throwing rocks at agents from the Nogales, Mexico, side of the border.

U.S. District Judge Raner Collins declared a mistrial after the jury deadlocked on a lesser charge of manslaughter, NPR reports

In October 2012, Swartz responded to the rocks by firing 16 shots, striking Rodriguez eight times in the back and twice in the head.

Swartz’s attorneys said the agent was protecting himself and fellow agents when he opened fire. Prosectors said he pulled the trigger because he was frustrated with rock throwers.

Jurors Deliberates Today in Trial of Border Patrol Charged with Killing Mexican Teen

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Jurors in the trial of a Border Patrol agent charged in the shooting death of a teenager in Mexico are set to begin deliberations Tuesday morning.

In closing arguments, prosecutors told the jury that Agent Lonnie Swartz fired his across the border in Nogales, Mexico, because he was fed up with people throwing rocks, the Associated Press reports. 

Defense attorneys countered that Swartz, who is charged with second-degree murder, feared for his and his fellow agents’ safety after he began hearing rocks striking the fence.

Swartz fired 16 shots, striking 16-year-old Elena Rodriguez wight times in the back and twice in the head.

Last week, Swartz testified for more than two hours, telling the jury that he heard rocks striking the fence and that a fellow agent had been injured. He added that an alleged drug smuggler, whom the rock-throwers were said to be protecting, had a large knife in his pocket.

“I was scared, scared to be hit by a rock, (scared) for my partner,” Swartz said. “I had to act quickly. I only had seconds to stop the threat.”

But the fellow agent testified earlier that he was not injured and that a rock rolled onto his foot.

Other Stories of Interest

Mistrial Declared in Stabbing Death of Off-Duty Border Patrol Agent

Hisaias Justo Lopez was on trial for allegedly murdering an off-duty Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A mistrial has been declared in the trial of a man accused of killing an off-duty Border Patrol agent.

The 12 jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict Friday in the murder trial of Hisaias Justo Lopez, who is accused of fatally stabbing Border Patrol Agent Isaac Morales on May 20, 2017, in the parking lot of the Union Draft House in East El Paso, the El Paso Times reports

Defense lawyers for Lopez argued Morales was drunk and the aggressor, forcing their client to defend himself.

Prosectors insisted Lopez started the fight unprovoked.

“I think there is no more deliberation,” the jury’s foreperson told the judge.

According to the El Paso Times, 10 jurors believed Lopez was guilty, and two thought he was not guilty.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether prosecutors would seek to retry Lopez.

Other Stories of Interest

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