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Agencies Coordinate Rescues in the Sonoran Desert


February 11, 2016

YUMA, Arizona – Customs Border Patrol recently coordinated three rescues with the assistance of federal and county partners, saving distressed illegal immigrants in the Sonoran desert.

On Sunday, February 7, A male illegal immigrant activated a rescue beacon in the Sonoran desert prompting a joint rescue effort between Yuma Sector Border Patrol’s Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) unit, and pilots from the Marine Corps Air Station’s Yuma Search and Rescue. A rescue beacon is a tower located in secluded areas that individuals can activate when in distress. This activation sends an alert to the Border Patrol’s dispatch, which then coordinates a rescue. Ground units located the missing man and determined he did not need medical attention.

On Tuesday, February 9, Yuma County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from an illegal immigrant stating he had been in the desert for several days and was unable to continue. Yuma County Sheriff’s Office then contacted Yuma Sector to assist. The call launched another coordinated effort, this time between BORSTAR and pilots from Air and Marine Operations. The teams located the man, thanks to a signal fire he started, and treated him on site for mild dehydration.

Yuma County Sheriff’s Office received a second 911 call an hour later and provided coordinates to agents, who then located another man lying on the ground. A BORSTAR agent initiated medical care at the scene before the victim was transferred to an ambulance for ground transport to Yuma Regional Medical Center. The man was treated for severe dehydration and released.

In each incident, the men were later transferred to Wellton Border Patrol Station for further processing.


Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents effectively combat smuggling organizations attempting to illegally transport people and contraband through southwestern Arizona and California. All persons, drugs and vehicles are processed per Yuma Sector guidelines. Citizens can help the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling 1-866-999-8727 toll-free to report suspicious activity. Callers can remain anonymous.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP strives to keep terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.



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