Border Patrol Agents are Encountering Unusual Sized Groups

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Migrant caravan heading to Mexico City, in Villa Comaltitlan

SAN DIEGO — After encountering a series of unusual sized groups of migrants for the region, San Diego Sector (SDC) Border Patrol agents, in partnership with the government of Mexico, conducted an operation targeting the smuggling organization responsible for transporting these large groups to the border.

On Nov. 4, San Diego Sector’s Foreign Operations Branch, working with the government of Mexico, conducted the operation, which led to the arrest of two Mexican citizens for human smuggling, the seizure of a box truck, and the rescue of 75 individuals from Brazil, Venezuela, and Portugal who were locked inside of the box truck.

“Partnerships with the government of Mexico continue to play a vital role in combating smugglers who exploit individuals for monetary gain,” said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke.  “We thank them for their support and will continue our joint-effort to bring these criminals to justice.”

Over the last several weeks, San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents encountered an increasing number of unusual sized migrant groups ranging from approximately 50 to 90 people.

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Between Oct. 28 and Nov. 9, agents encountered five groups, mostly from Brazil and Venezuela. The groups all entered the United States illegally and consisted of men, women, and children and were 43, 49, 73, 84 and 93 people in size.

On Oct. 27, agents observed a box truck dropping off a group of individuals on the southside of the international border fence. The group proceeded to enter the United States through a compromised drainage tube. Agents responded to the area and encountered 67 men, women, and children from both Brazil and Venezuela.

On Oct. 26, agents encountered two groups of migrants that illegally entered the United States through a compromised sewer grate. The first group consisted of 86 Brazilian nationals. A few hours later, the second group, consisting of 69 Brazilian nationals, was encountered at the same location. Both groups consisted of men, women, and children.

On Oct. 23, agents observed a group of migrants illegally enter the United States through a drainage tube three miles west of the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Agents responded to the area and encountered 72 men, women, and children. Every person in the group was determined to be from either Brazil or Venezuela.

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The U.S. Border Patrol San Diego Sector Foreign Operations Branch has a recurring and ongoing relationship with the Government of Mexico to address cross-border challenges.  SDC has agents permanently assigned as well as detailed to the FOB, in part to help conduct operations such as this based on emerging trends and threats in our border region.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.