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Yuma sector Border Patrol statistics soar
Oct 3, 2005

After a 2005 fiscal year in which the U.S. Border Patrol's Yuma sector broke records for illegal alien apprehensions, deaths and rescues, 28 more illegal aliens were rescued over the weekend, the first two days of the 2006 fiscal year.

Yuma sector agents apprehended 138,486 illegal aliens between Oct. 1, 2004, and Sept. 30, 2005, according to Michael Gramley, spokesman for the Yuma sector Border Patrol. This figure was nearly 41,000 more than the number apprehended in 2004.

"We attribute (the high numbers) to the buildup of the San Diego sector followed by increased resources being flooded into the Tucson sector, which has pushed entries into our area and the Deming, N.M., area," Gramley said.

Gramley said at the start of the year no one at the Yuma sector imagined that agents would apprehend such a high number of illegal aliens. The previous apprehension record was 108,747 from 2000.

The apprehension numbers recorded in 2005 were 41.7 percent greater than 2004 and 27.3 percent greater than 2000. The Yuma sector extends from the southeastern corner of California to the Yuma-Pima county line.

The Border Patrol expects a decrease in apprehensions as increased manpower is funneled to the Yuma sector. Every two weeks, 50 agents graduate from the Border Patrol Academy, and from this group of 50, an average of 12 agents are sent to the Yuma sector, Gramley said.

Next year, the sector is tentatively scheduled to receive another 250 agents, according to Gramley.

Gramley said it is difficult to predict what would happen but as more and more agents are placed on the ground for patrols, "we should see a deterrent effect," he said.

The 51 immigrant deaths this past year were also a sector record.

Gramley said the high number of border crossers combined with the scorching temperatures this summer led to the an increase of 15 deaths over the previous record, set in 2004.

Another record set this year was the amount of marijuana seized by agents, 37,171 pounds. The previous record from 2004 was 27,185 pounds.

In the past fiscal year, Border Patrol agents rescued a total of 423 illegal aliens, which is also a record for the sector. "In each of those cases, had the Border Patrol not intervened, we anticipate those subjects would have died," Gramley said.

This past weekend, 28 illegal aliens were rescued by Yuma sector agents. Sunday, agents rescued 17 illegal aliens who had activated rescue beacons in the desert.

"We hope the aliens will continue to utilize them," Gramley said of the beacons. "It helps the agents to easily locate them and rescue them."

At about noon Sunday, a Customs and Border Protection helicopter responded to the activation of a rescue beacon about 18 miles east of Yuma. Five men, all found to be illegal aliens, were rescued at the beacon, according to the Border Patrol.

Later that night, two more beacons were activated in the same area. CBP pilots responded and rescued four men at one beacon and seven men and a woman at another. All were found to be illegal aliens from Mexico.

Saturday, CBP helicopters were used to rescue a married couple from Mexico, who were found 15 miles south of Dateland, and a group of nine people who were in the desert near Yuma. Agents found the group of seven men and two women about 10 miles southeast of Yuma, thanks to information given by a man who had left them.

Gramley said the number of rescues made by agents was raised considerably due to the use of more Customs and Border Protection helicopters. He said that the helicopters are the most effective tool Border Patrol has in patrolling remote areas of the desert.

The 28 rescues were among 632 apprehensions made over the first two days of the 2006 fiscal year, or an average of 316 apprehensions per day. While far from statistically significant at this point, this is 16.6 percent less than the 379 apprehensions per day that were made during the record-breaking 2005 fiscal year.

For his part, Gramley hopes this is the last time Border Patrol will reach such a high number of apprehensions. "We hope that (2005) will be an all-time record," he said.