POSTED: Saturday, August 10, 2013 - 4:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, August 10, 2013 - 4:04am
EDINBURG, TX (KVEO) — U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector encountered the remains of eight illegal immigrants, seized an estimated $10.3 million worth of marijuana and busted three stash houses where illegal immigrants were being harbored.
Border Patrol agents are well-trained and well-equipped to save lives and do their utmost to help those in need. So far for fiscal year 2013, agents have saved the lives of more than 600 illegal immigrants whose lives were in danger due to a variety of circumstances. The number of rescues marks a 132 percent increase over the same time period for the previous fiscal year. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts and proactive life-saving initiatives such as rescue beacons and the strategic deployment of the Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue team, the harsh environment of south Texas took its toll on eight illegal immigrants over the past week.
The majority of the remains (six) were found in the rugged ranchlands near Falfurrias on Wednesday and Thursday. Two of the bodies were found in the Rio Grande near Mission on Monday and Tuesday and the other body was found in the brush near Donna on Tuesday.
Illegally entering the United States is extremely dangerous. Extreme weather conditions, combined with rugged terrain, can rapidly cause an individual to become distressed and die from dehydration, exertion or weather-related illnesses. Unscrupulous human smugglers prey upon the desperation of illegal immigrants and exploit them for profit. Human smugglers are ruthless criminals who view the immigrant not as a human being, but as cargo. Immigrants are urged not to put their safety at risk by illegally entering the United States or circumventing a checkpoint
Additionally, agents made multiple drug seizures throughout the past week. One of the largest occurred Monday near Rio Grande City when agents spotted a marijuana-laden GMC Yukon traveling away from the river at a high rate of speed. Agents on the ground lost sight of the vehicle but a helicopter from the Office of Air and Marine followed it to a nearby house. The vehicle’s passengers abandoned the Yukon and sped off in another vehicle. They were apprehended a short time later. Inside the abandoned Yukon agents found more than 1,600 pounds of marijuana.
In another large seizure, agents from the Rio Grande City Station netted nearly 1,400 pounds of marijuana Thursday near Garceño.