U.S. Border Patrol agents watching over the Rio Grande River near Eagle Pass, Texas have witnessed the cruelty of smugglers and criminal cartels first hand, but an incident last week undoubtedly set a new low.

Members of the Del Rio Border Patrol Sector Search, Trauma, and Rescue (BORSTAR) team came across a dozen illegal immigrants crossing the Rio Grande when they noticed something wasn’t right.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release:

Agents saw one individual, a double amputee with one arm and one leg, being carried by smugglers to the bank of the river and thrown into the water. Once in the river, the individual struggled to stay afloat.

The BORSTAR team swiftly responded and swam out to save the drowning victim.

But that was only the half of it.

“As the man was safely being taken to the U.S. river bank, agents inland observed another individual, a paraplegic man, being carried to and through into the river in the same vicinity as the first individual. The paraplegic man immediately began to drown.” according to the CBP reports.


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Apparently, criminal traffickers have realized they needn’t bother to actually transport disabled migrants across the river and risk arrest. They can simply dump into the water and U.S. agents will save them and bring them the rest of the way.

The agents busy swimming the first victim to the U.S. shore handed him off to other agents who dove in to help, then swam back to the other side to rescue the paraplegic man, fighting the strong river current the whole way.

“Smuggling organizations have little concern for the wellbeing of innocent individuals and show no remorse,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz said. “I commend our agents for acting swiftly during this emotionally charged situation.”

Both of the disabled men were Honduran nationals and both refused medical treatment. They were taken to the Eagle Pass South Station where they were processed and placed with suitable facilities, according to the CBP.

The rescue marks at least the second instance in as many months of smugglers ditching disabled migrants in route to the U.S. border. In March, Del Rio Sector Border Patrol agents rescued a double amputee from Guatemala who was left on island in the Rio Grande River with little more than his wheel chair, Breitbart reports.

Agents took the 37-year-old man to the U.S. side, where he was processed for immigration violations.

“One day earlier, agents apprehended a 41-year-old Honduran man in the middle of the Rio Grande,” according to the site. “The agents quickly discovered the man could not speak or hear.”


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