SAN DIEGO, California. – In recent weeks U.S. Border Patrol San Diego Sector has received increased reports from migrants encountering bandits in the Otay Mountain Wilderness area.
In the last week of March, three groups of migrants reported incidents involving bandits carrying weapons:
On March 24, agents apprehended a group of five undocumented migrants in the Otay Mountain Wilderness area. The group informed agents that they had been robbed by armed bandits, carrying a rifle and a pistol. Agents on scene, saw at least two of the possible bandits running south of the reported location. The group stated they were ordered to pay $1,000 to continue their journey, but since they did not have the money their cell phones were taken instead. The migrants also reported that additional individuals were being held by bandits just south of the U.S./Mexico International Border.
On March 27, agents apprehended a group of 20 undocumented migrants. Individuals in the group reported they had been robbed by bandits, approximately 40 minutes prior to being apprehended. The bandits were each reported to have been armed with a revolver. Agents responding to the area observed the three suspected bandits walking south, within the U.S., and eventually crossing back into Mexico.
Also on March 27, agents encountered a second group that reported being assaulted and robbed. The group relayed that as they entered the U.S., they were intercepted by two subjects. They said these two subjects were each carrying a pistol and that they punched, kicked and robbed the group of their cell phones and money. At some point during the encounter, the migrant stated, the bandits attempted to separate one of the female migrants from their group and take her back into Mexico, but they were unable to do so.
In each of these encounters, all the apprehended migrants were medically
evaluated, taken into custody and then transported to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing.
Additionally, USBP agents assigned to the San Diego Sector Foreign Operations Branch, a unit dedicated to working closely with the foreign governments, reported all these incidents to their counterparts with the government of Mexico to address these threats.
“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,” stated San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke. “There is only one safe and secure means of entering the United States and that is through a designated port of entry.”
To prevent the illicit smuggling of humans, drugs, and other contraband, the USBP maintains a high level of vigilance on our Nation’s borders. To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.