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Smugglers of illegal immigrants are becoming more desperate and aggressive in their efforts to get their customers from Mexico to California. They are now fully armed, wearing body armor, and have even opened fire on agents of the United States Border Patrol.
An incident that occurred on August 18 in which a Border Patrol agent sought to stop a group of migrants crossing into California through the Otay Mountain Wilderness is included in the recent escalation in extreme techniques that coyotes, or people-smugglers for hire, have been using, according to the authorities in the United States.
The United States Customs and Border Protection claimed in a statement that an individual suspected of smuggling fired numerous bullets at an agent. The agency claims that the desperation of the criminals is being fueled by the agency's efforts to crack down.
According to the authorities, when more agents responded to the shots, they could see the muzzle flashes coming from the migrant group, and a second volley of gunfire was aimed at the officers.
As the group of migrants fled back into Mexico, the agents swiftly took refuge behind cover. As a result of the incident, there were no reports of any agents receiving injuries.
"Smuggling organizations are becoming desperate and escalating their level of violence because of the work being performed by U.S. Border Patrol agents," said San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Patricia McGurk-Daniel in a statement released by the agency.
According to McGurk-Daniel, "Our agents are preventing smugglers from conducting their illegal business and this is their extremely dangerous response." This callous demonstration unequivocally demonstrates that people who traffic migrants do not care about the safety of law enforcement or the migrants themselves.
A member of the United States National Guard noticed an armed guy climbing over the border barrier in the Otay Mountain Wilderness on August 22, just a few days after the shooting incident that took place there.
The next day after that, two other armed individuals were spotted in the neighborhood. However, the search conducted by border patrol personnel turned up nothing.
Officials have issued a warning that the retaliation from people traffickers will increase in intensity with the intensification of efforts to crack down on unlawful crossing.
The number of armed smugglers who convey migrants across the border has been observed to be on the rise by border patrol agents on both sides of the border.
Officials from both the United States and Mexico have stated that they are working together in an effort to apprehend the armed persons.
"These incidents and individuals pose a significant danger to agents patrolling the area as well as migrants attempting to illegally enter," McGurk-Daniel said. "These incidents and individuals pose a significant threat."
The coordinated operation comes as Mexico's Institute of Migration issued a warning that its officers who have been clamping down on illegal border crossings have come across heavily armed smugglers in recent months. They also stated that they have witnessed coyotes fire at border agents. The warning was issued in conjunction with the joint effort.
At the beginning of this month, three men were seen crossing the border into Texas while armed with rifles and wearing body armor. They were carrying the weapons.
A similar occurrence occurred in June, when five individuals suspected of belonging to the Cartel Del Noreste were detained in the same region after illegally crossing the border while armed with rifles and other tactical equipment.