U.S. Border Patrol agents in South Texas are seeing an uptick in sex offenders trying to sneak across the border and into the United States, federal authorities said recently.
KRGV News reports that Border Patrol agents have caught 144 sex offenders in the last five months. That is compared to 93 who were caught over the same period of time last year.
Those apprehended have reportedly been found all along the Rio Grande Valley.
Among them is one woman from El Salvador who was convicted of child sex assault in 2009. She was caught in December, having snuck back into the country.
Earlier this month, agents arrested two men near Del Rio, Texas. Both had been previously convicted of sex crimes, according to Fox News.
The second man, arrested on March 4 ,was caught on a ranch along the the Rio Grande River. He turned out to be 35-year-old Jose Margarito Rivera-Mendez, a Mexican national, who had been convicted of felony indecency with a child in North Carolina in 2003. He was sentenced to 15 to 18 months behind bars and then deported back to Mexico in 2005.
Del Rio Sector Chief Rodolfo Karisch told Fox News after the arrest that agents often focus on tracking those previously convicted of crimes.
“Our agents are committed to keeping the country safe,” Karisch said. “Apprehending criminals previously convicted of felonies, as they attempt to enter the United State illegally, is one of the many ways we accomplish our mission.”
To that end, the Border Patrol is using sophisticated software to scan international criminal databases, according to KRGV. The news channel also reports agents are employing tools that make use of enhanced biometric technology. Such tools scan fingerprints and retinas and have facial recognition capabilities.
Unnamed agents that spoke to KRGV didn’t speculate as to why they were seeing the spike in arrests of sex offenders.
They said they were also seeing an increase in the number of search and rescues along the Rio Grande, as well as a rise in the number of deaths.
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