SANTA TERESA, N.M. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a video Wednesday that appears to show human smugglers dropping two young children over a 14-foot wall along the New Mexico-Mexico border, the agency said.
According to KFOX-TV, surveillance footage captured the moment that the Ecuadorian girls, ages 3 and 5, were left alone on the U.S. side of the border near Santa Teresa.
“On Tuesday evening, a Santa Teresa agent utilizing camera technology observed a smuggler dropping two young children from the top of the approximately 14-foot-high border barrier,” the agency said in a news release. “Immediately after both children landed on the ground, two smugglers immediately fled the area and abandoned the helpless little girls on the north side of the international boundary line.”
Agents responded to the scene and rescued the sisters, who were taken to the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station, the news release said. Emergency crews then rushed the girls to a nearby hospital, where they were treated and cleared, the agency said.
The girls temporarily remain in Border Patrol custody “pending placement by Health and Human Services,” according to the release.
In a statement, El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said the agency is working to identify the suspected smugglers.
“I’m appalled by the way these smugglers viciously dropped innocent children from a 14-foot border barrier last night,” the statement read. “If not for the vigilance of our agents using mobile technology, these two tender-aged siblings would have been exposed to the harsh elements of desert environment for hours. We are currently working with our law enforcement partners in Mexico and attempting to identify these ruthless human smugglers so as to hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Cox Media Group