U.S. agents under greater attack on Mexico border

Tarantulas

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Frustrated by tighter security on the U.S.-Mexico border, illegal immigrants and drug traffickers are taking it out on U.S. agents, increasingly attacking them with guns, rocks and petrol bombs.

Assaults against Border Patrol officers rose 10 percent to 843 incidents in the year to September 2006 from the same period a year before, officials say. It is also a near three-fold increase from two years previously.

Mexican drug cartels, locked in a turf feud and under pressure from an army crackdown, are lashing out at law enforcement officers in Texas.

"The attacks against us are becoming more brazen. Drug cartels have instructed their people to go down fighting, to do whatever is necessary to get the narcotics through," said Rick Flores, Webb County sheriff in Laredo, Texas.

He said drug smugglers are increasingly taking pot shots at agents with assault rifles from inside Mexico at night, although no one has been killed.

They are also using riskier routes to bring drugs across the border, leading to clashes with U.S. law enforcement.

Laredo lies across the Rio Grande from Nuevo Laredo, one of the Mexican cities worst hit by a fight between rival drug gangs that killed around 2,000 people last year. The area is a key entry point for cocaine.

In the Yuma sector, which covers a 125-mile (200-km) desert strip in southwest Arizona, attacks on agents rose 60 percent between last October 1 and December 31, official data shows.

Large groups of illegal immigrants regularly pelt Border Patrol agents with softball-size rocks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails, leaving agents with burns, bruises and head wounds.

"Immigrants are frustrated and are lashing out. It has reached the point that we are seeing attacks on an almost daily basis," said Border Patrol spokesman Lloyd Easterling.

In one assault in 2005, a group of rock-throwing illegal immigrants damaged the rotor of a Border Patrol helicopter and forced it to make an emergency landing.
It won't let me post the link, but it's from Reuters via Yahoo.

The Border Patrol agents going to prison for shooting that illegal alien in the butt has had a "chilling effect" on other agents shooting back in self defense, apparently.
 

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