U.S. Border Patrol agents recovered two firearms during two separate incidents this week.
“We have seen an increase in armed encounters,” said San Diego Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke. “In 2022, our agents seized more than 60 firearms, an increase of almost 50% when compared to 2021.”
“We never know who we’ll encounter as we patrol the border,” he added. “Our agents are the first line of defense against smugglers who have become more aggressive and brazen in their attempts to bring people and narcotics into our country.”
The first incident occurred at about 12:30 p.m., Jan. 9 when a 17-year-old male in a dark-colored Chevy pickup truck was referred for an additional inspection at the Interstate 8 checkpoint in Pine Valley.
Agents questioned the driver and later searched the vehicle. During their search, agents found a loaded 9MM P80 handgun without a serial number and a 30-round magazine inside a handbag. The driver, firearm, magazine, and ammunition were turned over to the San Diego County Sherriff’s Office (SDSO).
The second seizure occurred one day later at about 12:13 p.m., when contractors, who were repairing damage to the border infrastructure near Imperial Beach, discovered a loaded 9mm semiautomatic pistol north of the primary border fence.
The firearm and magazine were turned over to the Border Patrol and transported to the Joint California Forensic Center for processing.
These events occur less than a week after an El Paso Border Patrol agent assigned to the Lordsburg, New Mexico Station was shot by an armed smuggler during a vehicle stop. The agent in this incident survived the encounter due to his body armor. The suspect was later arrested after a short pursuit ensued.