Video shows smuggler cutting down barbed wire hours after it was placed at Yuma border
U.S. Customs and Border Protection released video on Wednesday showing what appears to be a human smuggler cutting through concertina barbed wire that agents had placed atop the border fence near Yuma just hours before.
The 30-second clip was taken on Nov. 7 at the border fence erected next to the Sanchez canal, which is located west of the San Luis port of entry near where the border juts up along the Colorado River.
As the video zooms in, a man in a yellow shirt appears in the screen. He's hanging from the bollard fence with his left hand and is holding wire cutters in his right hand, which he's using to cut through coils of barbed wire hanging down from the fence.
"We put up concertina wire in order to help sturdy the infrastructure that's in the area," Agent Justin Kallinger told The Arizona Republic. "We wanted to show as quick as we put that stuff up, there was a smuggler to cut it down."
Kallinger said the agents working in a special-projects crew with the support of Arizona National Guard troops had installed the barbed wire just hours before, "maybe one day before they started cutting it down," he added.
That differs from the work that active-duty soldiers have been doing along Arizona's ports of entry. Starting this week, soldiers began placing concertina wire atop the border fence, but at the ports of entry, not in between the ports.
Kallinger said border agents had placed the wire atop the border fence through the populated areas of the twin cities of San Luis and San Luis Rio Colorado.
These areas have been magnets for large groups of migrants, mostly Central American families and minors, seeking to enter the United States to claim asylum.
On Wednesday, Border Patrol officials in Yuma said they had apprehended 654 migrants the previous two days near San Luis. Most of the migrants, they said, were families and minors from Guatemala who turned themselves in to border agents.
CBP said the migrants were not a part of a caravan traveling to Tijuana to claim asylum.
The families had jumped over the border fence on both sides of the port of entry, including near the site where the alleged smuggler was caught on video cutting through the barbed wire.
Another clip that CBP released Wednesday showed some of those migrants, including children, walking past the Sanchez canal to the buses used to transport them to the Border Patrol station in Yuma for processing.
The arrivals of migrant families in the Yuma area have increased drastically over the past year, after dipping down following President Donald Trump's inauguration.
Agents here apprehended 2,625 family members in October. That's the largest number of single-month apprehensions since the government began tracking that data in 2013, according to statistics from Customs and Border Protection.