CBP in Arizona Rescues Infant, Toddler ‘Left to Die’ in Sonoran Desert

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said over the weekend that it rescued two young children who were “left to die” by human smugglers in the scorching Arizona desert.

“Yesterday smugglers left an infant and a toddler in the Sonoran Desert to die. This is cruelty. And it is gut-wrenching. I commend our agents for their quick response to this dreadful incident and to every incident in which migrant lives are at stake,” CBP’s Chief Patrol Agent in the Tucson Sector John R. Modlin said.

“The children were 4 months and 18 months old. Agents found the infant was unresponsive; thankfully, we were able to revive her and avert tragedy,” he said. “The heartlessness of smugglers cannot be underestimated.”

The bust was part of a busy weekend for CBP in the Tucson area.

According to Modlin, two juvenile U.S. citizens were caught attempting to smuggle a total of seven people – four from Guatemala and three from Mexico – into the United States.

The group also apprehended a registered child sex offender who was attempting to re-enter the United States illegally just a year after being convicted, Modlin said.

“Tucson Sector agents arrested Cesar Tlasmanteco-Vasquez near Douglas, AZ, on Monday night. The Mexican citizen is a convicted felon,” Modlin said on Twitter. “In August 2021, he was convicted of patronizing a prostituteinvolving a child in [Washington County] UT. He faces criminal charges.”

While illegal alien border crossings decreased in July, they remain at levels not seen in decades, according to CBP data.

“In total, there were 199,976 encounters along the southwest land border in July, a four percent decrease compared to June,” according to July’s report. “Of those, 22 percent involved individuals who had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months, compared to an average one-year re-encounter rate at the southwest land border of 15 percent for FY 2014-2019.”

Still, CBP saw 162,792 unique encounters at the border, a one percent increase from June.

Those figures do not include “gotaways,” those who crossed the border undetected by CBP and other law enforcement.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Sonoran Desert” by John R. Modlin.


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