Attacks on Border Patrol agents up 179%, Homeland Security says

Damage done to a US Customs and Border Patrol boat. (Courtesy: CBP)
Damage done to a US Customs and Border Patrol boat. (Courtesy: CBP)

EDINBURG, Texas (KXAN) — New numbers from the Department of Homeland Security show a drastic increase in violence against Border Patrol agents.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, from Oct. 1, 2016 until Feb. 28, 2017, attacks involving weapons, projectiles and close quarters fighting have gone up 179 percent from the same period last year.

“We are becoming more effective in dealing with the increase in assaults and flow of traffic, we’re making sure our agents are prepared to address any tactics and/or force that is used against us,” said McAllen Station Patrol Agent in Charge Melissa Lucio. “Our priority is to ensure that everybody is safe and that we have an appropriate response to assaults on our agents.”

CBP said agents have been using less lethal forms of handling the assaults which allows them to move to a safer location. There have been no serious injuries but boats have been damaged.

The CBP says in the past two weeks, around McAllen and Rio Grande City, there have been six such attacks from the Mexico side of the river targeting agents on the riverline.

Last month, politicians visit the Mexico-Texas border to see learn about border security and trade.

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