EL PASO, Texas - Human smugglers are resorting to the use of drones to help guide groups of undocumented immigrants looking to enter the United States, the Border Patrol said.
Earlier this week, a U.S. Border Patrol agent was monitoring the border at night utilizing an infrared camera when he observed a small airborne object traveling northbound across the U.S. International boundary. The object traveled approximately 100 yards over U.S. soil and then return to Mexico, officials said.
The object repeated this pattern three times. Approximately two minutes after the object returned back to Mexico for the third time, a group of ten undocumented immigrants entered the U.S. illegaly in the same area in which the object had been hovering.
Border Patrol agents immediately took the group of undocumented immigrants into custody.
"This is the first known time in recent history that a drone has been utilized as a 'look-out' in order to aid in illegal entries in the El Paso Sector," said the Border Patrol in a news release.
Tuesday, April 16th began with two large groups shortly before 1 a.m. The first group of over 230 people was encountered at the Antelope Wells Port of Entry in the boot heel of New Mexico at 12:45 a.m. The second group was encountered just west of Mount Cristo Rey in Sunland Park, New Mexico, consisting of more than 360 people around 12:50 am.
The Antelope Wells Port of Entry would encounter a second large group consisting of more than 130 subjects right before the end of day at 11:45 p.m.
Agents in the El Paso Sector had more than 1,800 apprehensions in total on Tuesday, more than half of those being in the El Paso metropolitan area.
According to the Border Patrol , the El Paso Sector continues to deal with an "unprecedented number of apprehensions."
As of March 31, 2019, the sector had a little more than 71,000 apprehensions, the Border Patrol said. During the same time frame the previous fiscal year, the El Paso sector had just under 11,000 apprehensions.