December 15, 2008
The U.S. Border Patrol says agents in the Tucson Sector are seeing an increase in assaults along the border.
Last fiscal year agents were assaulted 261 times; the year before that there were 216 assaults reported. Agent Mike Scioli says the 22 percent increase is a sure sign the smugglers are frustrated by increased manpower, infrastructure and technology.
There are 3,100 agents patrolling Arizona’s 262 linear miles of border with Mexico.
Scioli described some of the attacks, “It starts with a rock and when we talk about rocks they’re about the size of my hands. Other things range from Molotov cocktails to, it’s gross, but honestly, they’ll even throw deceased animals over in bags and then we’re talking about physical assaults out in the desert.”
Agent Mario Escalante says the smugglers become desperate.
“We’re cutting into their lucrative job. It’s such money making you can say industry because it’s so well organized,” says Escalante.
There is however some good news, so far this fiscal year, since October, the agency is a reporting only 15 assaults on agents, that’s a decline compared to the same time last year.