Border agent wounds suspected drug smuggler

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CAMPO, Calif. — A suspected drug smuggler was injured slightly Wednesday when a Border Patrol agent shot out his windshield, officials said.

“TheScreen Shot 2013-06-05 at 5.05.29 PM suspect was injured however it was just from flying glass,” said Lt. Glenn Giannantonio, San Diego Sheriff’s Department Homicide Unit.

The shooting happened at about 6:45 a.m. less than a mile north of the U.S.-Mexico border on state Route 94 near Forrest Gate Road in Campo.

The incident began when Border Patrol agents spotted two suspicious vehicles heading north from the border.

“One of the vehicles upon seeing the agents made an immediate u-turn and headed back towards the border,” said Lt. Giannantonio.

The car was abandoned at the border and the occupants escaped across the border on foot.   The second vehicle pulled over on the side of the highway.

“When the vehicle stopped, agents got behind it,” said Lt. Giannantonio.  “As the agents exited the car and were walking toward the suspect vehicle, the driver made a rapid u-turn and drove directly at one of them.”

The agent feared for his life and shot at the oncoming vehicle at least once. The driver was not hit by any bullets, but he was injured by shattered win

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dshield glass, Giannantonio said. No Border Patrol agents were injured.

The driver was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for cuts and released to Border Patrol custody.

Both of the suspect vehicles were packed with large quantities of narcotics.

“At this time, we don’t know the amount or what kind of drugs we’re dealing with.  The investigation is ongoing,” said the Lieutenant.  “If I had to give an estimate, it looks about 100’s of pounds.”

Sheriff’s homicide detectives were investigating, as is standard in cases of officer-involved shootings in unincorporated areas.  

Agents from the FBI, DEA as well as Border Patrol are also involved in the investigation.

Giannantonio said the suspect will likely face felony charges of assault on a federal agent and transporting narcotics.

During the incident, both Campo Elementary School and the Juvenile Ranch Facility Detention Center were placed on a voluntarily lockdown.

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