Yuma Border Patrol apprehensions up slightly from 2011
Despite an increase in the number of apprehensions during fiscal year 2012, Border Patrol officials say the Yuma Sector is still as secure as it has been the past several years, if not more so.
Last fiscal year, agents made 6,500 apprehensions in sector-wide operations, which is a 95 percent decrease since the Yuma Sector's high point in 2005 when agents made 138,438 apprehensions. And, of these FY 2012 apprehensions, approximately 9 percent were from a country other than Mexico.
Yuma agents also seized 31,692 pounds of marijuana and 437 pounds of cocaine during FY 2012. This represents a decrease of 38 percent in marijuana seizures since 2009 and a decrease of 30 percent in cocaine since 2010 when agents seized a record high of 51,695 pounds of marijuana and 625 pounds of cocaine, respectively.
“Our apprehensions have increased slightly from FY-11. This is largely due to the fact that 61 percent of our sector apprehensions entered into the U.S. illegally from somewhere other than Yuma Sector,” said Yuma Sector Border Patrol Chief Stephen Martin. “Due to the high level of Border Security within the Yuma Sector, we were able to deploy assets to our neighboring sectors. These successes are due to the hard work and dedication of the men and women of the Yuma Border Patrol Sector.”
The Yuma Sector is responsible for securing a region that includes 126 miles of U.S./Mexico border. Its area of responsibility stretches from the Pima County line in the east to the Imperial Sand Dunes of California to the west, as well as the entire state of Nevada.
Agent Kyle Estes, of the Yuma Sector Public Affairs office, explained that since the sector is still under operational control, Yuma agents are assisting other sectors by helping to patrol some of the more remote areas of the state along the border, such as the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.
The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, according to Estes is in an area known as “The Seam,” an area between the Yuma and Tucson sectors and south of Gila Bend.
“As we have continued to lockdown the Yuma Sector we have had the ability to extend our resources out farther to some of the more remote areas where criminal activity is occurring,” Estes said. “And that increase is what we saw reflected in last year's statistics.”
Another reason apprehensions have increased, according to Estes, is that agents are catching more people who are in the country illegally at the checkpoints that have been set up throughout the sector.
“A large portion of the apprehensions we have are from subjects who entered the country somewhere else and were caught in our area,” Estes said.
While it is hard to predict what those statistics will show next fiscal year, Estes said he expects them to be about the same or a bit higher because of the area where agents are currently working and will continue to work as long as necessary.
Yuma-area residents can help the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling 1-866-999-8727 toll-free to report suspicious activity. Callers can remain anonymous.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.