The U.S. Border Patrol is ramping up its enforcement against smuggling organizations in East County with Campaign Eastern Front launched on June 12.
Entrenched and sometimes violent local smugglers in the Tecate, Baja California-Jardines Del Rincon, Ejido Chula Vista, Jacume and El Hongo areas use transportation cells in the U.S. that employ dangerous and reckless tactics.
These tactics often include assaulting and throwing rocks at Border Patrol agents, wrong-way driving on freeways and robbing and kidnapping migrants.
The smugglers pay for protection and are associated with Mexican cartels that, at a minimum, condone their actions.
"We are taking a proactive and deliberate approach to address our concerns in the East County to ensure that the violent incidents that we have unfortunately experienced in the past do not occur in the future," Richard Barlow, Chief Patrol Agent of the San Diego Sector said.
The Border Patrol will work with Mexico to coordinate a presence in specific border areas and target identified smuggling networks.
Locally, multi-agency enforcement operations will include the El Centro Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which will focus prosecutorial efforts on suspects involved in smuggling activity.