U.S. Border Patrol agents captured nearly 300 migrants early Thursday morning near the Antelope Wells port of entry in Southern New Mexico.
Agents at Camp Bounds forward operating base near Antelope Wells spotted a large group of people illegally crossing into the U.S., Border Patrol officials said.
The group of about 297 people consisted of migrants from Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras, officials said.
Earlier, agents spotted people dressed in camouflage hiding on the Mexican side of the border near the site where the large group of migrants would cross later on, officials said.
The people appeared to be “scouting the area for possible vulnerabilities, thus allowing the agents to be prepared for illegal activity during the overnight periods,” officials said.
As agents processed the large group of migrants, a Guatemalan boy, whose name and age were not released, showed signs of an illness, officials said.
The boy and his father were then taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment, officials said.
“Temperatures in the boot heel area this morning were below freezing and the smugglers associated with this event showed no sense of safety and or value to human life when they guided this group into the United States illegally,” officials said in a news release.
The area is known as the “Bootheel of New Mexico.”
More than 27 groups consisting of more than 100 migrants have been apprehended in the same area so far this fiscal year, officials said.
“In many instances, criminal organizations are saturating areas with large groups with the belief that they can smuggle narcotics or other contraband into the United States while Border Patrol agents are occupied,” officials said. “The U.S. Border Patrol will continue to enforce the rule of law, while ensuring that our communities are safe.”
© 2019 the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas)
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