Authorities arrested a group of armed illegal aliens on Tuesday after they allegedly broke into a ranch house near the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas and stole multiple items, including handguns, officials announced Wednesday.
Border patrol agents in Sierra Blanca responded to the burglary that was reported at a ranch in Hudspeth County, where “weapons were known to have been stolen,” the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement.
As agents responded, they located three armed illegal immigrants and upon a search, also discovered the other stolen items.
“Upon search of the undocumented non-citizens, two loaded handguns, ammunition, food, and clothing were discovered,” agents said.
The trio was handed over to the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office, which also took custody of them for further investigation, the agency said. They are facing “potential state charges” for trespassing and theft of property.
In surveillance photos released by CBP are three males, two of whom appear to be holding guns.
Big Bend Sector Border Patrol agents encountered 3 undocumented non-citizens armed with firearms they obtained after burglarizing a ranch house. The men were arrested by agents who found 2 loaded handguns, ammo, food, and clothes after a search.
— CBP (@CBP) July 1, 2021
“Through extensive training, our Border Patrol Agents are always prepared and ready to respond to various scenarios,” Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Sean L. McGoffin said in a statement.
“Without hesitation, these agents responded to the ranch house and safely secured the location, the stolen weapons and the undocumented non-citizens,” he added. “With the presence of weapons in the wrong hands, this situation could have turned violent; fortunately, our agents were able to control the encounter and bring it to a peaceful resolution.”
The number of illegal crossings at the southern border has surged since President Joe Biden took office in January. For the month of May, border patrol agents apprehended 180,034 individuals illegally entering the United States—the highest number seen in a single month in more than two decades.
Republican lawmakers have repeatedly pointed at the burgeoning crisis as a result of Biden’s move to overturn several key Trump-era immigration policies that significantly curbed the flow of illegal border crossings. This includes his predecessor’s cornerstone Migrant Protection Protocol, commonly known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which effectively ended the problematic “catch and release” policy and significantly reduced the number of illegal immigrant encounters at the southern border in 2019. The MPP, which has been on pause since Biden took office, was officially terminated on June 1.
In a return to the Obama-era “catch-and-release” policies, the Biden administration is again releasing unaccompanied minors into the country. Opponents argue that Biden’s move has been interpreted as a signal to prospective illegal immigrants that they can once again illegally cross the border.
The Biden administration, on the other hand, has sought to shift the blame on the Trump’s administration, with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas previously saying that it had “dismantled the orderly, humane, and efficient way of allowing children to make their claims under United States law in their own country.”
Isabel van Brugen contributed to this report.