Five people have been arrested after a Border Patrol agent was assaulted by a smuggler while trying to arrest migrants trying to get into the U.S. via the southern border in San Diego, California.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said that five people were arrested in an operation on Wednesday, along with ammunition, narcotics, vehicles and makeshift ladders in an operation targeting the criminal organization believed to be responsible for the attack.
The agent was assaulted last week near the San Ysidro port of entry, while trying to arrest the 12-15 migrants who were between two border walls in the area. After seeing the agent, the group fled back to Mexico -- but as the agent retrieved the ladder they’d used, a smuggler hit her with what is believed to be a 2x4.
The agent was later treated at a local hospital for contusions and facial lacerations after being helped by colleagues.
The operation to nab the smugglers was coordinated between Border Patrol and the government of Mexico, sharing information about known smugglers. Mexico executed two search warrants and arrested four Mexicans and a U.S. citizen. Among the contraband, they found fentanyl, methamphetamine, rounds of ammunition and more ladders.
CBP, in a statement, said it is the third assault against Border Patrol agents in the last month in that sector alone. Separately, shots have recently been fired at agents in San Diego and Texas.
New U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz recently praised the work of Border Patrol agents, and their "unwavering commitment" to national and border security despite the attacks against them.
"We take these threats and acts of violence seriously and will do everything we can to identify and bring to justice those who seek to harm the men and women of the Border Patrol," said U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz in a statement last month.
More than 212,000 migrants were apprehended in July, part of a continuing and dramatic increase in numbers that has overwhelmed agents and resources. The Biden administration has said one of its strategies to combat the surge is to go after the transnational criminal organizations and smugglers that are facilitating the migrant crisis.
In April, it launched Operation Sentinel to work to identify smugglers and associations and take actions including the revocation of travel documents, suspension and disbarment of trade entities, and the freezing of financial and banking assets.
"We aim to cut off access to that profit by denying these criminal organizations the ability to engage in travel, trade and finance within the U.S," Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said. "We intend to disrupt every facet of the logistical network that these organizations use to succeed."