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Courtesy US Border Patrol

Border Patrol Agents halt baby smuggling attempt; Arrest leads to reunion of toddler with family

Officials with the U.S. Border Patrol announced that agents stopped a human smuggling attempt earlier this week, returning a baby to her family.

On Tuesday, January 20, U.S. Border Patrol agents from the El Paso station identified a human smuggling scheme near the El Paso International Airport. According to officials, agents found four people from Ecuador with fraudulent documents attempting to board flights leaving El Paso.

During the interview process, agents learned that days prior, two of the four people had “secured a smuggler to cross their one-year-old daughter separately through the El Paso port of entry but were unaware of the whereabouts of their child.”

Officials say that Border Patrol agents immediately began coordination efforts by reaching out to other agencies and ultimately located the child.

During the investigation, agents learned that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Paso Del Norte crossing came across the child earlier in the week.

Officials say she was being transported across the border by a “17-year-old U.S. female citizen who presented fraudulent documents for the child….the child was turned over to Health and Human Services, [and] that prosecution on the smuggler was deferred.”

Gloria I. Chavez, El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent said, “This serves as an example of the coordinated tactics human smugglers use to exploit human beings. It’s a frequent reality at the border that many do not witness…I am extremely proud of the determination displayed by agents in helping to reunite this one-year-old child with her family.”

Officials added that “an arrest or criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered evidence of guilt. Subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection asks citizens to report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol calling 1-800-635- 2509.  Callers may remain anonymous.