Newsbrief: In Latest Border Killing, Agent Shoots Unarmed Marijuana Mule 2/25/05

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The FBI and Arizona local authorities are investigating an incident in which a US Border Patrol agent shot and killed an unarmed Mexican man who was part of a group backpacking hundreds of pounds of marijuana across the border in remote Santa Cruz County. It is, the Arizona Republic reported, only the latest incident of Border Patrol agents wounding or killing unarmed Mexican immigrants. The incident also comes as tensions run high among US law enforcers on the border, with fears of spillover from violence among Mexican drug traffickers and as well as shootings directed at Border Patrol agents near Douglas, AZ, last month. No one was injured in those incidents.

United States Border Patrol
The latest killing took place in the pre-dawn hours Saturday, when Border Patrol agents confronted about a dozen men carrying backpacks full of marijuana in Pesquiera Canyon about 10 miles north of the border. According to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department, when the agents tried to apprehend the smugglers, they scattered. For unknown reasons, a Border Patrol agent whose name has not been revealed fired one shot, hitting one of the men in the chest and killing him.

"I don't know what the level of threat was that caused him to discharge his weapon," said Sheriff Tony Esparza. No weapons were found at the scene and none of the other smugglers were captured. Agents did seize about 350 pounds of pot.

While Border Patrol agents report having been fired on nine times since October 1, they have been firing as well. According to the Republic, the following incidents have all taken place within the last year:

  • October 4: A Border Patrol agent in the Tucson sector shot a Mexican man in the head as agents tried to stop his vehicle near Sierra Vista.
  • October 20: A Border Patrol agent in the El Paso sector shot and killed a Mexican citizen near Portal, on the New Mexico border.
  • February 4: The Unites States paid $125,000 to a Mexican citizen shot by a Border Patrol agent as he clung to the border fence near Agua Prieta, Sonora. That shooting took place in January 2002.

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Issue #376 -- 2/25/05

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