U.S. Customs and Border Protection released video over the weekend showing the “escalation of tactics” used to smuggle illegal immigrants into the country, which now apparently involves heavily armed security.
— CBP Arizona (@CBPArizona) April 23, 2019
“U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Ajo station apprehended a woman and her eight-year-old son after witnessing armed subjects escort the pair into the United States, west of Lukeville, Arizona, Saturday night,” the CBP reports.
“Border Patrol cameras observed several men armed with assault rifles escort a mother and child to the international boundary west of Lukeville,” according a statement. “The armed men dropped off the pair in an area commonly used by smugglers to bring massive numbers of Central Americans into the country illegally.”
The video shows at least six armed subjects in what appears to be military style tactical gear mulling about a SUV parked just across the border. After one of the subjects waived to the others, three armed guards escorted the mother and child from the vehicle to an open border fence a short distance away.
The group paused briefly at the border before the mother and child climbed through the barrier, followed by one of the armed guards, who walked along with the two for a short distance before returning back across the border to Mexico.
“This is highly unusual and highly concerning to the agency,” an unnamed border official told Fox News. “These armed individuals along the border represent an escalation of tactics. This is not mom and dad and kids deciding to head to the border. This is a no kidding, orchestrated effort to bring individuals into the U.S.
“It’s not just the numbers,” the official said. “It is who is running this enterprise.”
The incident follows massive waives of illegal immigrants flooding across the border in several areas, and the Lukeville, Arizona crossing has become a hot spot, in part because the barrier there isn’t designed to keep people out.
Border Patrol agent Jesus Vasavilbaso told KOLD the mother and son discovered in the recent video were told by smugglers to turn themselves in to authorities and claim asylum and the two followed the instructions.
“This part of the border does not have a wall or fence, it is just a vehicle barrier that keeps cars from driving across but does nothing to stop people from walking across illegally, which is exactly what these two did,” the news site reports.
The disturbing CBP video follows just days after border agents apprehended nearly 400 migrants – most of them children – in the same section of border after the migrants filed out of charter buses and walked across illegally.
It was one of 40 such large groups that have cross the border in the Tucson Sector in the past eight months, a tactic cartels use to divert attention and resources away from drug smugglers and human traffickers crossing elsewhere.
Roy Villareal, chief agent for the Tucson Sector, said the 393 migrants crossed near Lukeville on April 16, the same day a group of “close to 600” overwhelmed agents in El Paso, Tucson.com reports.
“Let’s not be deceived here,” he said. “This is an orchestrated effort by a criminal syndicate.”
President Trump has taken it a step further to suggest the cartels may not be the only folks in on the scam. U.S. Northern Command told AFP five to six Mexican troops questioned and pointed their weapons at two U.S. National Guard soldiers conducting “border support operations” on April 13.
The U.S. soldiers were south of a border fence but north of the U.S. border, and the Mexican troops relieved one of the soldiers of his sidearm before eventually releasing the two.
An investigation “revealed that the Mexica military members believed that the US Army soldiers were south of the border. However, the US soldiers were appropriately in US territory,” NORTHCOM told AFP.
Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the Border. Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2019
“Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the Border,” Trump posted to Twitter Wednesday. “Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!”