JULY 24, 2009
Illustrating a drastic increase in violence along the Mexican border, a federal agent has been fatally shot while tracking a group of smugglers in a remote area of San Diego.
The 30-year-old U.S. Border Patrol agent, Robert Rosas, leaves behind a wife and two young children. Though details are still sketchy, officials say Rosas spotted a suspicious group of people Thursday night in a rocky area east of San Diego near the Mexican border and called for backup.
When the group of smugglers split up, Border Patrol agents did the same to more effectively track them and radio contact was subsequently lost between officers. Rosas was shot multiple times in the head and died at the scene. Authorities aren’t sure whether the group was smuggling illegal immigrants or drugs or whether it continued traveling inside the United States or back to Mexico.
One local congressman called the murder a wake up call, noting that it was only a matter of time before the violence related to illegal immigrants and drugs crossed over the border along with smugglers. The crisis escalated last year when a Border Patrol agent was murdered in California for the first time in a decade.
Agent Luis Aguilar was mowed down by Mexican drug smugglers in California’s Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area when he tried to stop their sports utility vehicle loaded with narcotics. The 32-year-old father of two laid a spike strip in the vehicle’s path and the driver intentionally struck him, according to witnesses.
The tragic incident led Homeland Security officials to publicly admit that agents patrolling the southern border are constantly under siege by violent drug cartels and are regularly attacked with firearms, knives, bats, steel pipes, vehicles, boats and slingshots.
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