Rash of migrant robberies, assaults reported to United States Border Patrol

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The U.S. Border Patrol Thursday warned anyone considering sneaking across the U.S.-Mexico line about several recent armed robberies and assaults of migrants in the Otay Mountain Wilderness area.

On March 24, five undocumented travelers detained by personnel with the federal agency in the remote region straddling San Diego County and Baja California reported having been held up by gun-toting bandits, according to USBP public affairs.

The group told the agents the robbers threatened them with a rifle and a pistol and ordered them to pay $1,000 to be allowed to continue their journey. The migrants reported that when they could not produce the money, the thieves stole their cell phones, according to the Border Patrol. The detainees also told the officers that bandits were holding other victims captive just south of the international line.

The agents who took the group into custody saw several suspected robbers running off to the south, the federal agency reported.

On March 27, USBP officers patrolling in the southern San Diego-area wilderness preserve stopped 20 undocumented migrants, some of whom reported that they had been robbed a short time earlier by bandits armed with revolvers, according to the Border Patrol. Agents at the scene saw three suspects walking to the south and crossing into Mexico.

That same day, USBP personnel encountered another contingent of travelers who reported having been assaulted and robbed as they entered the United States illegally from Mexico. The migrants told the personnel that two bandits armed with pistols punched and kicked them, stole their money and cell phones, and made a failed attempt to separate one of them from the group and forcibly take her back across the border.

All the people detained during the three encounters were medically evaluated before being transported to a Border Patrol station for deportation processing.

Agents assigned to the USBP Foreign Operations Branch reported the cases to the Mexican government, according to the Border Patrol.

“We continue to stress to migrants: Do not place your life or the lives of your loved ones in the hands of callous smugglers or risk encountering thieves and kidnappers in these remote areas,” USBP San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said. “There is only one safe and secure means of entering the United States, and that is through a designated port of entry.”

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