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US Smugglers are using camouflage ladders to climb border wall, feds say

03:20  15 february  2020
03:20  15 february  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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Customs and Border Protection said agents arrested 16 from Mexico and Guatemala near Campo CA after smugglers cut an old section of border wall in the San Diego sector and drove through in a Dodge Smugglers cut a truck-sized hole to drive 16 through US-Mexico border wall , feds say .

Federal judge says Trump's use of emergency funds to build wall is unlawful. When a breach is detected, a welding crew is sent to fix the opening, the Smugglers also deploy makeshift ladders to climb up and over the barriers in the San Diego area, and then use hooks to hang rope ladders on

EL PASO, Texas – Smugglers in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico have engineered camouflage hook-and-ladders made of rebar that blend in so well with the border wall that it can be hard to detect, according to U.S. Border Patrol. The ladders are the same rust brown color as the mesh panels or steel beams of the fence.

El Paso's urban stretch of border is littered with the rusted rebar ladders at the base on both sides — ladders lying in wait on the Mexican side, ladders pulled down by border agents or abandoned by smugglers on the U.S. side. One of the rebar ladders was poking out of a dumpster in a lot near the Chihuahuita neighborhood on Thursday.

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Smuggling gangs in Mexico have been able to breach new sections of President Donald Trump's border wall in recent months, according to a new report from The Washington Post. Smugglers also deploy makeshift ladders to climb up and over the barriers in the San Diego area, and then use

Agents in California and Texas said smuggling teams have been using improvised ladders to go up and over the barriers, despite the risk of injury or death Some of the smugglers deploy lightweight ladders made of rebar, using them to get past the “anti- climb panels” that span the top of the barrier.

a close up of a cage: Border patrol agents Joe Romero and Fidel Baca look at discarded ladders migrants use to climb over the border fence Thursday, Feb. 13, in El Paso.© BRIANA SANCHEZ/EL PASO TIMES Border patrol agents Joe Romero and Fidel Baca look at discarded ladders migrants use to climb over the border fence Thursday, Feb. 13, in El Paso.

"Somebody is making money off those ladders," said Agent Joe Romero, pointing to a mangled version tossed in the dirt on the U.S. side. "The agents pulled it off the wall and cut it up so it can't be used again."

a man standing in front of a building: Border patrol agents Joe Romero and Fidel Baca look at discarded ladders migrants use to climb over the border fence Thursday, Feb. 13, in El Paso.© BRIANA SANCHEZ/EL PASO TIMES Border patrol agents Joe Romero and Fidel Baca look at discarded ladders migrants use to climb over the border fence Thursday, Feb. 13, in El Paso.

The ladders appear to be made with two poles of 3/8-inch rebar and four thinner poles, outfitted with steps and bent over at the end in a U, to hook on the top of the wall. It's the sort of cubed rebar support structure used in construction in Mexico, called castillo.

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The Washington Post first reported Saturday that in recent months smugglers have used commercially available power tools to saw gaps in the bollards in new sections of the border wall , and have also used makeshift ladders to scale and climb over the wall .

CBP said Border Patrol agents responded immediately to the breach. Once across the border , migrants turned themselves in for processing. While the use of the ladder by the smuggler to get migrants over the fence on Monday is likely to generate criticism, Garibay defended the use of walls

Romero said the rebar ladders started turning up in large numbers in the El Paso sector last year in May, around the time that construction of the most recent replacement wall finished downtown. They've been a go-to method for scaling the fence in the urban footprint since.

The Trump administration has funded construction of about 100 miles of border wall during his presidency, mostly to replace existing barriers. The president has proposed spending an additional $2 billion for border wall construction under a draft White House budget.

Border Patrol apprehensions of single adults — those most likely to use the ladder method — have nearly doubled year-over-year in the El Paso sector, which includes West Texas and New Mexico. From October through January, Border Patrol apprehended 10,030 adults, compared with 5,150 in the same period a year ago.

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Trump has said that climbing this iteration of the border wall is "virutally impossible." One man multiple was even able to climb the replica while juggling different items in one hand. And in November, The Washington Post reported that smugglers based in Mexico are reportedly using power tools to

Visitors climb down 70 feet of metal ladders , installed in a concrete shaft built after the underground The eight border wall prototypes recently built in Otay Mesa are being tested now for their ability to The smugglers started in Mexico using what was already there and when they came to the concrete

Apprehensions of family units and unaccompanied minors have dropped sharply in the first four months of fiscal 2020 versus a year ago, in large part due to policy barriers created by the Trump administration to deter asylum seekers.


But illegal crossings are on the rise in El Paso, according to Border Patrol.

"We’re starting to see a lot of evading activity," said Agent Ramiro Cordero, the sector's spokesman. "We’re starting to see the criminal organizations working hand-to-hand on either side to avoid detection. More and more we are seeing 'failure to yields' — they are utilizing ladders to go over the fence and diversionary tactics."

Follow Lauren Villagran on Twitter: @laurenvillagran

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Smugglers are using camouflage ladders to climb border wall, feds say

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