Border Patrol enlisting you to catch smugglers

Border Patrol enlisting you to catch smugglers

CREATED Jun 30, 2011

Reporter: Sergio Avila
Web producer: Sheryl Kornman

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The U.S. Border Patrol has unveiled a new strategy to fight drug and human smugglers and the key element in the campaign is you.

The campaign asks the public for help to catch some of the most wanted criminal suspects in the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, which covers Yuma and southern Arizona.

The premise is like other most-wanted campaigns. Flyers are being distributed at Border Patrol checkpoints, including the one in Tubac, and they include a toll-free number to call to report a tip to authorities.

Border Patrol spokesman Mario Escalante said all the individuals on the flyer are involved in smuggling activity. He said he's sure people will want to help authorities catch them

"We have several people in the community that support what we do. And we even have people in the community that approach us while we're doing our jobs and performing our duties. So we're pretty sure having a number and that people want to remain anonymously is going to help," he said.

This strategy was started in California and has proven to be very successful, he said.

So far, it's working well here, too. Two suspects have been locked up. Escalante said many times when smugglers are arrested they play dumb or try to blend in with a group of illegal immigrants so they won't be detected.

"This is a good opportunity for the community to get involved and as we're trying to better serve our communities and provide better communities for all of us this is a perfect time for the community to help us out," Escalante said.