(The Center Square) – In the first few weeks of 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents in the El Paso Sector of New Mexico and West Texas arrested at least 34 known fugitives wanted on charges such as aggravated sexual assault of a child, second degree murder, sexual exploitation of a minor, kidnapping of a minor, and indecency with a child and lewd acts upon a child.
“Homeland security is our primary mission and every time a CBP officer identifies and arrests someone who is being sought by law enforcement, that makes our communities a little safer,” Hector Mancha, El Paso Director of Field Operations, said in a statement. “The vast majority of travelers CBP officers encounter pose no risk, but it is important that we identity and stop those who do.”
Agents arrested both men and women, U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and illegal immigrants. They were wanted by law enforcement officials in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, and California. Once the suspects were processed by border agents, they were turned over to federal and or state authorities to face prosecution, according to CBP.
One of the arrests was of a 21-year-old male and lawful permanent resident who was stopped at the Bridge of the Americas border crossing. After performing a background check, agents discovered a warrant was out for his arrest from the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office in Texas on a charge of aggravated assault of a child.
Another was at the El Paso Paso del Norte (PDN) Port of Entry, where agents apprehended a 38-year-old American citizen who was wanted on a second degree murder charge by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana.
Also at the PDN, a 19-year-old lawful permanent resident was apprehended after a background check revealed an outstanding arrest warrant was out from the Las Cruces Police Department in New Mexico for sexual exploitation of a minor.
A 26-year-old female U.S. citizen was also apprehended by agents after she stopped for an inspection at the PDN. A background check revealed she had an outstanding arrest warrant issued by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina for kidnapping of a child.
A 44-year-old male and lawful permanent resident was stopped at the Presidio-Ojinago International Bridge after it was discovered that he had an active warrant issued by the Ector County Sheriff’s Office in Odessa, Texas, for sexual offense against a child.
At the Ysleta-Zaragoza International Bridge, agents arrested a 36-year-old Mexican citizen with an outstanding warrant issued by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office in California for six counts of lewd acts upon a child and unlawful sexual intercourse.
The 28 other outstanding warrants discovered were for individuals who’d committed vehicle theft, sexual assault, money laundering, robbery, dangerous drugs, and international sports doping and conspiracy.
The El Paso Border Patrol Sector dates back to 1904, when a small group of men first patrolled the Texas-Mexico border on horseback “to curb the flow of illegal Chinese aliens,” according to CBP historical data.
The region is historic for the many bloody battles that have been fought in and around El Paso. “Newspaper files indicate that not one 24-hour period passed in the month of February 1927 without a report of gun fighting along the border,” with agents building “a reputation of winning most of the gun battles.”
Today, gunfire can be heard by warring factions among the Sinaloa Cartel that are fighting over operational control of the border south of El Paso in Ciudad Juárez, the most populous city in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. The Sinaloa maintains operational control of the southern border from El Paso, west to California, and controls the drug trafficking of fentanyl and other narcotics and opioids north into the U.S. through this region.
The El Paso Sector is comprised of 11 stations in the entire state of New Mexico and two Texas counties. The stations include Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Lordsburg, Santa Teresa, and Truth or Consequences in New Mexico, and El Paso, Fabens, Fort Hancock, and Ysleta in Texas.
Roughly 2,400 agents are employed in the El Paso Sector responsible for patrolling 268 miles of international border that encompasses 125,500 square miles.