A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent was caught on camera Monday chasing after a smuggler who had just dropped off his human cargo – that included women and children – in Texas.
The dramatic video, original captured by ABC News, shows Agent Robert Rodriguez coming across a man on a main road in McAllen where smugglers are known to traffic illegal immigrant from Mexico and Central America into the U.S.
“Look, there's a smuggler,” Rodriguez said as he began to chase the man into the Rio Grande. “I cannot go in the river to apprehend him. As long as he goes back south, I'm all right.”
The suspected smuggler was then seen getting into an inflatable raft and desperately rowing across the river back to Mexico.
The agency has been giving reports a tour of the McAllen station’s area of responsibility along the snaking Rio Grande, the nation’s busiest station after the key drivers of illegal immigration shifted over the last decade from adult Mexican men entering in Arizona to Central American families and unaccompanied children crossing the river on Texas' southern tip.
Also on Monday, two Honduran women – one with a 12-year-old daughter and the other with a 1-year-old boy – and two teenagers turned themselves in to border agents a short distance from the river. The smuggler escaped back to Mexico on a dirt road surrounded on both sides by a lush landscape of mesquite trees and thorny brush.
It’s unclear if the women and their children are the same ones who crossed with the smuggler in the raft.
Additionally, Gerberht Charac, 19, was found by agents on the roof of a trailer with another illegal immigrant trying to hide from authorities. Charac said he paid the smuggler $12,000 to get from Guatemala to Houston. He swam across the Rio Grande and stayed in a smuggling organization’s house before being caught.
“I had hopes of making it,” Charac said, explaining that he came to the U.S. to provide for his wife and daughter who stayed in Guatemala.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.