SANTA TERESA, New Mexico – A U.S. Border Patrol surveillance camera captured what officials described as "disturbing" video of human smugglers dropping two young children over a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border just west of Mt. Cristo Rey in Santa Teresa.
The video of the Tuesday night incident was released by authorities on Wednesday, with El Paso Border Patrol Sector Chief Gloria Chavez saying she was "appalled by the way these smugglers viciously dropped innocent children from a 14-foot border barrier."
Officials said after the helpless 3-year-old and 5-year-old sisters from Ecuador landed on the ground, two smugglers could be seen quickly fleeing the scene.
Border agents described the two girls as having been "mistreated" and said the pair were evaluated at a local hospital before being taken to a temporary holding facility; the girls joined 700 other unaccompanied children at the Border Patrol station at Hondo Pass.
"If not for the vigilance of our agents using mobile technology, these two tender-aged siblings would have been exposed to the harsh elements of desert environment for hours,” Chavez said.
Homeowners living near the area where the girls were dropped over the border barrier also reacted with dismay to the video.
"That's pretty intense man. That's just crazy," said resident Ivan Castro.
"I have a toddler myself, so I picture my baby being left by themselves and not knowing where to go. It,s sad," added Karin Peters, another area resident.