Border Patrol Agents Rescue Five in Blizzard

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Two Children and Two Adults Tragically Perish

PEMBINA N.D. — U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Grand Forks Sector stopped a smuggling attempt yesterday near Humboldt, Minnesota, rescuing five border crossers from treacherous, sub-zero conditions. During subsequent search and rescue operations, Canadian authorities discovered two children and two adults deceased.

A Border Patrol agent assigned to the Pembina Station stopped a vehicle driven by a U.S. citizen on Minnesota Highway 75 near Humboldt at approximately 9:15 a.m. The two passengers in the vehicle were citizens of India who recently crossed the border illegally from Canada. 

Assisting agents encountered five additional people walking on a nearby road experiencing severe signs of hypothermia and frostbite due to exposure to the extreme cold and wind chill. Agents immediately rendered aid, called for Emergency Medical Services and began transporting two of the individuals to an area hospital. They were met by the Kittson County Ambulance Service while en route. At the hospital, the injured migrants were provided additional medical attention. One migrant, an adult female, was air lifted to a hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, for advanced care while the other migrant, and adult male, was treated and released to U.S. Border Patrol custody.  

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Agents determined all five migrants rescued were citizens of India that had crossed into the U.S. illegally from Canada.  Aside from the woman needing advance care, all migrants encountered by agents during this incident were taken into custody and transported to the Pembina Station for further processing. At the station agents discovered toddler clothing in a bag discovered at the site of apprehension. 

A search and rescue operation looking for additional migrants was immediately initiated by agents from the U.S. Border Patrol and CBP Air and Marine Operations. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were advised of the additional members of the group unaccounted for. RCMP discovered four individuals on the Canadian side of the border who perished in the extreme weather conditions. The decedents included two children and two adults.

“I am saddened there was loss of life and the fact a small child died makes it even more difficult. Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones,” said Grand Forks Sector Chief Patrol Agent Anthony S. Good. “I am also incredibly proud of the Border Patrol Agents and our RCMP partners who selflessly endured sub-zero temperatures for hours to search for the missing persons. Their dedication to duty and courage is commendable.”

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“Anyone thinking of crossing the border illegally in these treacherous conditions should not do it,” added Good. “Smugglers only care about the money they are going to make and have zero regard for lives lost.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the comprehensive management, control, and protection of our nation’s borders, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection at and between official ports of entry.