COLUMBUS, N.M. — Illegal immigrants armed with torches, hacksaws, ladders and even bungee cords are making it around a section of the border fence hailed as the most efficient way to stop them.
In the 10 months since the section was put up, the only method federal agents haven’t seen is a tunnel — “Yet,” said Victor Guzman, the supervisory Border Patrol agent responsible for the stretch of close-together 15-foot cement-filled steel poles planted three feet into the ground.
Agents responsible for guarding the stretch of border here “almost immediately” started seeing cuts in the fence. The towering gray and rust colored posts are marked with bright orange spray paint in areas believed to have been breached, Guzman said.
Guzman, who has worked in the area for nearly a decade, said agents have found holes cut with acetylene torches, hacksaws and even plasma torches — a high-powered tool that uses inert gas or condensed air to quickly cut through steel and other dense metals.
“We see it once or twice a week,” Guzman said of the holes along the 1.5-mile stretch of fencing about 80 miles west of El Paso.
Officials monitoring cameras in the area have seen at least one group using a massive ladder to scale the south side of the fence. The group tried to drop into the U.S. with bungee cords before agents caught them.
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