MARCH 22, 2007
For the second time in about a month Mexican drug smugglers viciously attacked U.S. Border Patrol agents with gunfire in a high-traffic area of the Rio Grande, just south of Donna Texas.
The violent incident marks the fifth time in just a few months that Border Patrol agents have come under fire along the southern border by Mexicans, either trying to smuggle illegal immigrants or drugs into the United States.
This week’s attack was against two Border Patrol agents investigating bundles of marijuana floating in a small inflatable raft along a narrow stretch of the Rio Grande. When the agents approached the raft, gunfire erupted from the Mexican side of the river which spans from the San Juan Mountains of Colorado to El Paso Texas.
The raft returned to Mexico in the midst of the gunfire exchange but the federal agents recovered four bundles of marijuana, totaling more than 300 pounds, on the river bank. A Border Patrol official predicts that agents will increasingly come under lethal attack because frustrated smugglers are taking more drastic measures to get their cargo across the border.
That makes the lengthy jail sentences (11 and 12 years) of two Border Patrol agents who intercepted an admitted Mexican drug smuggler even more outrageous. The agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Campean, were convicted for stopping a vehicle loaded with 743 pounds of marijuana near El Paso in 2005 and shooting the smuggler as he tried to flee.
The agents in this week’s incident are actually lucky they missed the bad guys because if they had wounded the violent drug smugglers they might have been tossed in jail like Ramos and Campean, according to Lone Star Times.
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