CALEXICO, California -- It's happened yet again, for at least the third time in recent weeks.
U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended a group of three adults and two children after human smugglers lowered them by rope down a 30-foot section of the border wall, KVIA sister-station KYMA reported Friday.
The incident occurred approximately three miles west of the Calexico West Port of Entry in California about 3:15 a.m. Thursday, when Border Patrol camera operators assigned to the El Centro Station’s Remote Video Surveillance System observed a man being lowered down the border wall with a rope.
Camera operators then noticed another man being lowered; only this time they realized a small child was clinging onto his back. Subsequently, agents witnessed a third adult, a woman holding on to another child, lowered by the smugglers.
Camera operators saw three smugglers provide a ladder to climb the fence on the Mexican side. The smugglers also provided a rope, and physically lowered each adult down the border wall into the U.S.
"Smugglers often use this tactic to minimize their own risk of injury," commented Chief Patrol Agent Gregory Bovino. "They are willing to put others in jeopardy, including children, even when they won’t risk themselves."
Agents took the three adults with the two children into custody, and transported them to the El Centro Station Processing Center for further examination.
"These heartless, greedy smugglers continue to endanger the lives of undocumented individuals for money," continued Bovino. "We were lucky that the mother and her two children, as well as the other two men, were not dropped from the 30-foot border wall. I implore those who are looking to hire these smugglers to consider the extreme dangers of crossing the border illegally into the United States."
Agents determined that the two children, a two-year-old girl and six-year-old boy, and their 32-year-old mother, are all undocumented individuals from Venezuela.
The two other adults, a 28-year-old man and a 31-year-old man, both undocumented individuals from Venezuela had no relation to the mother and two children.
This is one of several recent cases of children being dropped over border walls. As ABC-7 previously reported, the first documented case occurred earlier last month near Santa Teresa. Another instance happened in mid-April in California.