Assualts against Border Patrol agents on the increase
Assaults against U.S. Border Patrol agents nearly doubled along the Mexican border over the last year as patrols cracking down on drug trafficking and migrant smuggling encountered increasing resistance — including the use of rocks, Molotov cocktails and gunfire.There is much more.
At least 687 assaults against agents were reported during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, up from the previous year's total of 354 and the highest since the agency began tracking assaults across the Southwest border in the late 1990s, according to Border Patrol officials.
Most assaults occurred near urban smuggling havens such as Nogales, Ariz., and Tijuana, but cross-border skirmishes took place from remote California deserts to the banks of the Rio Grande in Texas.
In many attacks, smugglers hurled softball-size rocks or fired high-powered slingshot devices loaded with marbles and ball bearings. Some tried to run over agents with vehicles.
In some cases, smugglers and migrants fought with agents and tossed wooden pallets to block their pursuers. Dented and damaged vehicles, windshields shattered, sat in Border Patrol parking lots.
In Tucson and San Diego, the most violent sectors, agents reported being shot at 43 times — up from 18 the previous year. No agents were killed, but three were shot in the leg. At least 20 more were hospitalized, many with head injuries from rocks.
Agents and experts expect the hostile climate to intensify as the border becomes increasingly difficult to cross.