Campo- Area residents and Border Patrol remain on edge after the murder of an on duty agent. Mexican authorities have released few details about the male suspect taken into custody after he sought medical treatment for injuries near the area where Agent Robert Rosas was found executed.
Head of federal police, Commissioner Elias Alvarez Hernandez, reported at a press conference that Tecate police witnessed a man identified as Ernesto Parra Valenzuela, 36, entering a hospital seeking treatment from undisclosed injuries. The Mexican government working closely with FBI and Border Patrol has arrested approximately 25 Mexican nationals in connection with the killing of Rosas.
The shooter was identified by another man, Jose Eugenio Quintero, who along with three other human smuggling (coyotes) were also detained. All are wanted by U.S. authorities for questioning in two additional murders and rape.
According to the FBI, crime scene evidence pointed to additional blood left behind at the murder location was from someone other than Agent Rosas.
The outlying community of Campo is now on edge since the murder took place. One resident, Sharon Courmousis said, “We usually feel safe, even though we are only three miles from the border. Border Patrol and Border Patrol Auxiliary are out in force protecting the community, however this took something away,” she said. “It’s sad, really.”
Most residents in San Diego County don’t realize that Border Patrol agents often work alone. Since the murder they are now traveling in pairs, with separate trucks. This seems logical; however what it does do is leave more border fence unprotected.
With heightened violence in the region and many gaps in the fence many locals and community leaders are questioning the politics and why the fence is far from complete. It is these poorly-fenced areas that Border Patrol focuses their time and resources on.
Border Patrol agents on duty admitted they were concerned this recent murder could prompt further violence along the Southern border. They also contend that as the border tightens up, it is getting tougher for the human and drug smugglers to get their product into the U.S.
A local bartender in the area also stated that the recession is playing a big part in the increased border violence.
While it’s always tragic to lose life, this incident will increase the spotlight on the problems the U.S. face on our Southern borders.
A spokesperson from Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office, Joe Kasper said, “The Congressman’s thoughts and condolences are with the Rosas family and the thousands of Border Patrol agents who risk their safety on a daily basis.”
“Secretary Napolitano has rightly responded by directing the Department to fully assist in the investigation to ensure whoever is responsible for this vicious crime is brought to justice,” he concluded.
Governor Schwarzenegger’s office had no comment regarding the death of a Border Patrol agent. However, they did release a press statement regarding a Caltrans employee death. This non-statement prompted many residents to question how serious Sacramento is taking the escalating border issues.
However, Gubernatorial Candidate Meg Whitman did make a statement regarding the murder of Agent Rosas. “I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of this U.S. law enforcement official. I believe this attack on our Border Patrol is a tragic reminder that we must remain vigilant in making our border safer and more secure.”
Locally, San Diego Sheriff Gore assisted in the early stages of the crime scene but referred the matter to the FBI. Sheriff Gore commented; “There are no jurisdictional boundaries when a peace officer is killed. We will assist in any way necessary and provide all resources to help bring those responsible to justice.”
This isn’t good enough say Bruce Ruff who is running for the San Diego Sheriff Office in the upcoming election.
“These evil events serve as a constant reminder to the people who serve us all are real people – American husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters,” he said. “Our elected and appointed leaders have consistently failed to send the necessary clear and strong message to the evil doers – we will prevail.”
Despite the federal law passed in 2006 regarding the border fence, many areas of the U.S./Mexico border remain unfenced and magnets for illegal human and drug trafficking. Until the U.S. provides the Border Patrol and the American public with a continuous fence, agents will continue to face life-threatening days on duty.
Agent Rosas leaves behind a wife and two children under the age of three. Border Patrol agents insist his death will not be in vain and they will catch the murderer.
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