The Mexicali Department of Public Safety rescued a group of 17 Mexican immigrants abandoned in a jungle area near the border wall, officials said Monday.
A city spokeswoman confirmed the group was located inside a white vehicle emblazoned with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) logos.
The incident took place on Saturday in Ladrillera, Mexicali. A group of 13 men and four women from different states of Mexico were exposed to the highest temperatures recorded in the city.
The Baja California Department of Health reports that 23 people have died from heatstroke in the past 10 days.
David Pérez Tejada, representative of the National Institute of Migration (INM) in Baja California, spoke on Sunday about the discovery of the vehicle.
“This is already another operation of criminal gangs Pollaros And Coyotes, the Mexican side brands the pickups as American patrol cars,” he said. “Under tactics they tell people to ‘get in here,’ or I don’t know what they tell them, ‘It’s already been fixed,’ ‘This is a United States patrol, they won’t say anything to you when you cross this.'”
Following the incident, a Border Patrol spokesperson said: “Transnational criminal organizations profit by doing everything they can to smuggle and smuggle people into the United States.”
“Impersonating law enforcement is reckless and illegal and is an example of smuggling tactics used by criminal groups. CBP elements are aware of this tactic and remain vigilant against this type of illegal activity.”
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