U.S. Border Patrol agents rescued two children who were dropped from the border wall by smugglers and abandoned in New Mexico, officials said.
An agent stationed in the area, using a camera, recorded a smuggler dropping a 3-year-old girl and a 5-year-old girl from a 14-foot-high border wall onto the U.S. side Tuesday evening near Mount Cristo Rey, U.S. Border Patrol officials said.
The agent alerted other agents to the area to recover the girls, who are sisters from Ecuador, officials said.
“I’m appalled by the way these smugglers viciously dropped innocent children from a 14-foot border barrier last night,” El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said in a statement. “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.”
A video of the incident shows a smuggler climbing the wall, grabbing one of the girls by the arms, lowering her partway and then dropping her to the ground.
The girl hits the ground with her feet and then falls on her face. She stays lying on her stomach for a short time. As she tries to get up, the smuggler grabs the second girl by the arms and drops her from the wall.
The second girl lands on her backside and is slow to get up.
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The smuggler throws an unknown item next to the girls, then jumps onto the Mexico side of the border wall. The smuggler and another person are seen fleeing.
The video ends with the girls standing by the fence on the U.S. side with the two smugglers running away on Mexico’s side.
The girls were alert when agents reached them in a remote area in the desert, and agents provided first aid.
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The girls were taken to the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station for evaluation by medical personnel and later to a hospital for precautionary reasons and further evaluation, officials said.
The girls were medically cleared and remain in a Border Patrol temporary holding facility pending placement by U.S. Health and Human Services, officials said.
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