Friday 30 September 2016

Suspected drug smugglers scale border fence - yards away from US agents

Published 01/04/2016 | 12:21

The international border fence in Nogales, Arizona (AP)
The international border fence in Nogales, Arizona (AP)

A journalist investigating use of force by the US Border Patrol got some unusual video footage when she spotted two suspected drug smugglers scaling a Mexico-US border fence within yards of US agents.

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Journalist Carolina Rocha, of Azteca Noticias in Mexico City, was recording in Nogales, Arizona, on March 16 when she spotted two young men climbing down the fence in broad daylight.

Footage shows the men carrying large backpacks, walking while hunched over and then hiding behind some bushes before realising the camera was recording.

"Don't record," one of the men said.

Ms Rocha told the men she was just doing her job.

She said later in an interview: "It was shocking. 'This is happening in front of me?' And we didn't stop recording."

The cameras rolled for about three minutes before the men climbed back up the fence and returned to Mexico.

Ms Rocha said she was stunned at how quickly they scaled the fence, which is more than 20ft high. The men were gone within seconds.

She was also struck by the fact that there were three US Border Patrol trucks within yards of the incident. No agents approached the men.

Border Patrol spokesman Mark Landess said it is not uncommon for smugglers to scale the steel fence, especially around Nogales, which is a busy drug-smuggling corridor.

Mr Landess said it is impossible to know why the agents did not respond, or whether they even saw the men.

"They might be waiting for something else to happen," Mr Landess pointed out. "There's no way to make an educated comment on that."

Press Association

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