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Border & Immigration

US Border Patrol Ramps Up Presence In East County To Combat Smugglers

A Border Patrol agent uses a computer in San Diego, Calif., June 5, 2014
Associated Press
A Border Patrol agent uses a computer in San Diego, Calif., June 5, 2014

The U.S. Border Patrol has ramped up its presence in the East County to combat smugglers.

Assaults on agents, the robbing and kidnapping of migrants, and wrong-way freeway traffic have been attributed to smuggling organizations in East County. This week, the Border Patrol's San Diego sector launched an operation called "Campaign Eastern Front" to stifle the organizations' criminal activity, according to an agency statement.

Smugglers south of the border sometimes use associates in the U.S. to transport their illicit cargo and can be associated with violent cartels, authorities said.


"We are taking a proactive and deliberate approach to address our concerns in the East County to ensure that the violent incidents that we have unfortunately experienced in the past do not occur in the future," Chief Patrol Agent Richard Barlow of the San Diego Sector said.

The Border Patrol was working with Mexican authorities to target areas where the smuggling networks are believed to originate. Agents also sought the cooperation of the U.S. Attorney's Office, which will "focus prosecutorial efforts on individuals suspected to be involved in smuggling activity in the East County," according to the Border Patrol.