BP detains 2nd large migrant group; 1st group used as distraction to smuggle drugs into US

Southern New Mexico residents concerned over border protection

Antelope Wells, New Mexico - The day after apprehending a group of 247 undocumented immigrants, Border Patrol agents in New Mexico's "boot heel" encountered a second large group of 115 undocumented immigrants smuggled into the US.

The undocumented immigrants were taken into custody at about 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 17, 2019.

Similar to the first group, the second group mostly consisted of Central American families and teenagers without a parent or guardian. 

Border Patrol officials said 15 families requested medical attention shortly after they were taken into custody.

Officials said this is the 25th large group consisting of more than 100 migrants since the beginning of the fiscal year in that specific area.

On January 16, 2019, agents apprehended 247 undocumented immigrants. The Border Patrol said "criminal organizations attempted to use this massive distraction to move illegal drugs across the border just west of the Antelope Wells area."

Border Patrol agents were able to arrest "drug mules" and seize 265 pounds of marijuana. 


ABC-7's New Mexico Mobile Newsroom visited the town of Hachita in New Mexico's boot heel. The town, with a population 49, is a 45 minute drive north of the Antelope Wells Port of Entry.

Residents in the community told ABC-7 they're fearful and agree with President Donald Trump's calls for stronger border security.

Some residents tell us they have run into several groups of undocumented immigrants over the years, and it doesn't make them feel safe.

"Whether we see it happening or not, doesn't mean it's not. As a person living by myself here in this small town, it is uncomfortable," said Karen Stephens, "When I go home at night and have to lock my gates, if I see something unusual or see something that's out of place, then I'm instantly on guard. I have to be."

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