- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2022

Border Patrol agents swept through a remote part of the U.S.-Mexico border in California this week and found a cache of 29 makeshift ladders.

Agents were working a joint operation with Mexican authorities, using drones to gain visibility on the mountainous area east of Otay Mesa, when they spotted a group of armed smugglers and illegal immigrants along the border.

The group, realizing it had been spotted, retreated into Mexico, managing to avoid Mexican law enforcement that was responding from the south. But the group left behind the 29 ladders, as well as 75 rounds of ammunition.

The terrain on both sides of the boundary in that location features hills and canyons, making it a popular spot for smugglers to bring in drugs or people who don’t want to be caught. The popularity of the route spurred the Department of Homeland Security to build a wall along much of the border in that area, necessitating the use of ladders to cross.

Officials said the ladders and ammunition were submitted for forensic processing and any information gleaned from them will be shared with Mexican authorities for their use.

“Our agents continue to leverage the strong relationships we have forged with our law enforcement partners in Mexico,” said Aaron M. Heitke, chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s San Diego sector. “Border safety has always been a shared concern, and this is just one example of how our coordinated efforts against a common threat has paid off.”

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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