CALEXICO, Calif. - U.S. Border Patrol El Centro Sector officials said individuals trying to cross the border are not the only ones getting injured, as in the case of a man who fell recently from atop the border fence when he tried to cross illegally.
Agent Justin Zaffuto said a Border Patrol agent was injured as well by a group of persons trying to enter the country illegally on Tuesday night west of the Calexico Gran Plaza Outlets.
“While attempting to make an arrest he was then assaulted. We observed the area. It looked like there were rocks that were being thrown or objects of some sort at the agent,” Zaffuto said.
The agent detained one crosser, put him in his vehicle and went after the others.
“While he was doing that, another person, part of the group of illegal entries, then came out of the New River, opened up the door and allowed the detained individual,” Zaffuto said.
The agent chased them and caught up with them. That’s when the group turned around to allegedly attack him.
“He was resisting arrest, actively resisting, pulling away. While the agent was trying to make the arrest other members of the group began to throw rocks and other objects, verbally shout threats at the agent,” Zaffuto said.
The crosser who had originally been put in the agent's vehicle was re-apprehended and arrested. He faces federal criminal charges for the alleged attack on the agent. The rest in the group fled back across the border. The agent's injuries were not serious or life-threatening.
Zaffuto said that attacks on agents have increased.
“Compared to last year, we had 23 all year. This year so far, we’ve had 80 assaults on agents. A lot of times, agents are working by themselves. It’s a 24-hour operation. You might be in areas where it’s dark, completely dark. And you encounter a large group. Just the numbers alone is a disadvantage,” Zaffuto said.