There is a war for America’s southern border and border patrol agents are under attack.
On the heels of an April incident where a man on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande threw rocks at border agents after they were involved in a boat crash, Rio Grande’s KRGV ran a special report Monday titled “Agents Under Attack.” The station spoke to border agent Randy De Leon who nearly lost an eye in a battle with drug smugglers in 2010.
“They’re buddies of mine. They’re friends of mine, ” De Leon said of the recently attacked agents.
“They’re my family. And anybody would do just about anything for family,” he said.
De Leon told KGRV his own story of the attack he suffered on the job in 2010 when he learned drug smugglers were in the area.
He was with three trainees and they split up to capture the smugglers.
“I remember that night clearly. I was working the evening shift. I was training,” De Leon told KGRV’s Melissa Correa.
He said he witnessed 10 to 15 drug “mules” — the lowly foot soldiers of the international drug trade — load approximately 1,000 pounds of the drugs into a vehicle “in a matter of seconds.”
When he confronted the vehicle head on, he said, it turned around and headed back towards the river.
Because the riverbed was covered in rocks, “I knew that he wasn’t going to drive down and splash down, which was a trend at the time,” he said. “So I backed off hoping I would give him enough time to basically bail out and just run down and abandon the load.”
But instead of running, the group began throwing rocks at De Leon in what he described as being like a hail storm.
“It hit my right side of the face,” De Leon said.
Undeterred by his injuries and with blood dripping down his face, the agent continued pursuing the criminals in his vehicle.
Other agents got him into an ambulance, In an effort to ease his worries, one agent told him he only had a scratch, but it was much more.
“I had to get three stitches in my eyeball. One of the bones that was broken was the ocular bowl, which holds up your eyeball,” he said. “They literally shattered it in half. And my eyeball was sinking and falling back into my head. And I had two surgeries, reconstructive surgeries on the right side of my face, where they placed four titanium plates in my face to repair the damage.”
The other agents eventually seized the load of drugs.
De Leon is back on the job but hundreds of attacks have happened since his assault including the attack in April.
A stark reminder of the battle raging on our border.
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