SAN DIEGO -- Twenty people illegally crossing into the United States were rescued Thursday from a storm drain near the U.S.- Mexico border after they were spotted entering the drain from Tijuana, U.S. Border Patrol agents said.
Around 11 p.m., Border Patrol agents caught sight of three people attempting to enter the United States through a border drainage tube two miles west of the San Ysidro Port Of Entry, according to spokesman Ralph DeSio with the U.S. Customs & Border Protection.
Agents heard individuals yelling for help and quickly pulled one female to safety. She told agents that more individuals had also fallen down the drainage tube.
Agents were able to locate the additional people through an access manhole. Using that access manhole, Border Patrol agents and Fire & Rescue personnel were able to rescue thirteen individuals.
DeSio added "No matter the method, the smuggling of human beings is a risky crime and often subjects its victims to dangerous and harsh conditions resulting in injuries and death. Inclement weather conditions, unfamiliar and inhospitable terrain, and perilous drainage pipe water flows significantly increase a detrimental outcome. These dangers are not important considerations to smugglers, who place an emphasis on profit over their victim’s safety. Simply put, it not worth crossing the border illegally and risking one’s life."
Of the twenty rescued people, 15 were Mexican males, one was a Guatemalan male, three were Mexican females, and one was an unaccompanied Mexican juvenile male. All people will be processed for illegally entering the United States, DeSio said.
Emergency medical services medically evaluated 17 people and seven were transported to a nearby hospital for care.