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U.S. Border Patrol Agent Hospitalized following rock attack

January 2, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
U.S. Border Patrol Agent Hospitalized following rock attack

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A U.S. Border Patrol agent patrolling the California border on an ATV was taken to the hospital after he was attacked by suspected smugglers with a large rock.

The assault took place a few miles east of the San Ysidro Port of Entry in a known human smuggling territory.

Agents working with the Chula Vista station suffered from injuries after he was “rocked” while working along the border north of Libertad Colonia, according to Border Patrol Agent Eduardo Olmos. The assailant hit the agent with a dodgeball sized rock as he was on an ATV at roughly 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. The ATV was traveling approximately 20 mph when he was hit by the rock.

The Border Patrol agent was patrolling along the fenceline in what Agent Olmos described as foggy conditions. “The smugglers take advantage of fog to smuggle larger numbers of people while cameras have reduced visibility,” Olmos said.

A group of individuals were gathered along the southern side of the fence when one of those people threw a large rock that hit the agent in the chest —knocking him off the ATV. “This is a serious attack,” Olmos continued.

The force of the impact caused the ATV to flip onto the agent. He managed to pull the ATV off while he waited for agents to respond. Agents used “non-impact crowd dispersal munitions” to separate the rock-throwing group of assailants.

Border Patrol officials informed Mexican law enforcement authorities of the assault. Mexican authorities responded and separated the crowd. No arrests have been made.

Olmos said EMT agents responded quickly and provided medical care. The agent complained of having issues with breathing, dizziness, and potentially broken ribs. An ambulance then brought the injured agent to a hospital where he was admitted for his injuries.

Doctors treated the agent for a wound on the right side of his chest. He was released at about 4 a.m., and he was given a few days off work to recover from his injury.

The area is a well known human smuggling area and attacks on agents border patrol agents occur often in this area.

“This is an all too common occurrence,” Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said. “In 2017, San Diego Sector Border agents were assaulted 83 times. 52 times in Fiscal Year 2016. The safety and well-being of our agents remain our top priority, and we will work with our law enforcement partners to bring the assailant to justice.”

Another Border Patrol agent was attacked in November while on duty at an immigration checkpoint in East County. The agent was hospitalized after a car trying to avoid inspection hit a metal sign which struck the agent in the head.

An ambulance transported the agent to a hospital where he was treated for a concussion. The suspect who reportedly assaulted the agent has not yet been charged with assaulting a federal agent.

According to Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Michael J. Scappechio, the case is being prosecuted as a human smuggling case.

Year-end numbers reveal a 27% increase over the previous year in attacks on Border Patrol agents. A total of 786 agents were assaulted in 324 episodes over the period concluding on September 30, 2017.

Over 100 agents have been attacked during the first three months of the Fiscal Year 2018 which started on October 1st.

Over the Christmas weekend, agents in Texas and Arizona came under attack with gunfire. One agent on a boat on the Rio Grande River was shot in the head by someone with a small caliber handgun from the Mexican side.

Other agents were shot at after a driver who was smuggling two undocumented immigrants fled from a checkpoint to evade arrest.

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