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On the fence: SUV gets stuck in smuggling attempt
Two men attempting to enter the United States illegally early Tuesday morning were thwarted when their SUV got stuck on top of the border fence 20 miles west of Yuma.
Shortly after midnight, Border Patrol agents patrolling the Imperial Sand Dunes encountered a silver Jeep Cherokee attempting to drive over the International Boundary fence using a make-shift ramp extending from Mexico into the United States.
The ramp's flawed design caused the Jeep to become “high centered,” and unable to move as it drove over the precipice of the 14-feet-high fence.
When the agents approached the stranded vehicle, two men fled into Mexico. The agents removed the Jeep from the fence, and seized both the vehicle and the ramp.
It was unknown if there had been any contraband in the vehicle prior to the arrival of the agents “but we are assuming that there was,” said Border Patrol Agent Spencer Tippets, public affairs officer for the Yuma Sector. “The back of the vehicle was opened, so it appears that they took all that out before the agents arrived.”
Construction of the border fence, in combination with other interdiction measures, has helped to slow the tide of smugglers entering the country illegally in the Yuma area, Tippets said.
“When smuggling organizations make an attempt like this, it helps us to realize how successful we really are here in the Yuma Sector. Before they didn't have to use drastic measures. But now that the border has essentially been shut down in this area, they are left with only drastic measures — things that they wouldn't normally ever even consider.”
In April 2011, Half a million dollars worth of marijuana was seized from smugglers who used a portable truck ramp to illegally enter the U.S. near the southern-most end of Foothills Boulevard.
“It was kind of a similar attempt,” Tippets said. “In that instance they were successful in getting the vehicle over, but agents found them and seized the vehicle.”
Border Patrol Agents will remain vigilant against all attempts by smugglers to enter the US illegally, Tippets added.
“We will continue to stop them every opportunity we have.”
Tuesday's seizure happened in the vicinity of where Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar was killed in 2007 when he was deliberately struck by a vehicle while attempting to deploy a controlled tire deflation device.
Chris McDaniel can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6849.