Skip to Content

Border Patrol ride-along: migrants on the run

SANTA TERESA, New Mexico (KVIA) --It's a little past 6 a.m. and still dark outside.

This is Sunland Park, New Mexico which is part of the Santa Teresa Border Patrol station, the busiest station for illegal crossings in the El Paso sector.

"For the month of March, we average a thousand, two-hundred seventy apprehensions a day," said Border Patrol agent Fidel Baca.

Baca says that about 75% of those apprehensions come from the Santa Teresa area, and agents are overwhelmed.

While agents in El Paso are getting the help of DPS troopers and Texas National guard as part of Operation Lone Star, agents in Santa Teresa rely on Sunland Park police for additional support.

"It's to the point that where we have agents from all the other stations working here to assist. For a while, we also had other agents from other sectors in the nation here," said agent Baca.

Moments after saying that, and even before the sun comes out, Baca and fellow agent Bill Cofy jump into action.

"Adonde van," agent Baca screamed out to migrants trying to flee.

Cofy apprehended two migrants, while Baca chased down two other migrants, a man and a woman.

It's here agents point out a new ploy migrants are using. Some are wearing expensive tactical boots, typically worn by agents.

Agents track shoe prints to try to find migrants entering illegally into the US.

"So by them wearing tactical boots we get confused with our own tracks," said Baca.

Baca explains large numbers of migrants are crossing near the Santa Teresa landfill.

It's an area where construction of the fortified border wall came to a screeching halt when president Joe Biden took office.

And it's along the border fence where smugglers cut out sections of the fence, footprints showing entry into the US.

Agents point to those  holes, which they describe as water spouts, where dozens upon dozens of migrants pour through. There are many more holes along the fence in Santa Teresa.

Just a few feet away from this hole, Baca and Cofy found a similar hole cut out with two men laying on the ground on the Mexican side, preparing to cross. They say they are from Chiapas, Mexico. The pair stood up and fled back into Mexico.

Migrants from Central and South America typically surrender to Border Patrol, but migrants from Mexico flee from agents.

While that pair was forced back, dozens more are getting across, like a group near Mount Cristo Rey, jumping and dodging from boulder to boulder, hiding in plain sight.

Agents say the group used a tactic rarely seen.

"This was a first for me, cause usually when we know that somebody entered a canyon I know where they're gonna pop out of. They're gonna be on the north side of the canyon. These guys decided to not do that. They actually climbed up the side of the canyon, and they went up and over into a different one," said agent Baca.

That group was trapped on top of the mountain with no where to go, except into the hands of waiting agents.

 ABC-7 asked a pair of men already in handcuffs why they're crossing now. "Because we need the food on the ranch in our city. We don't have a lot of work," answered one of the migrants in Spanish.

This was his first time crossing and did not know he could surrender rather than run from agents.

Just as agents were placing those migrants into a Border Patrol van, they pointed to a man at the top of the mountain. They say it was a spotter orchestrating the groups of people crossing, guiding them where to run to try to avoid capture.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Saul Saenz

Saul Saenz co-anchors Good Morning El Paso.


KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content