Border Patrol Agents see increase in MS-13 gang members crossing RGV Border
The Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 is one of the most feared and biggest gangs in the World. Its violent members are making a comeback in the United States and hundreds are being found here in the Rio Grande Valley.
"The Rio Grande Valley Sector has seen an increase of over 300% in the number of MS-13 gang members," said Marcelino Medina, a U.S. Border Patrol agent stationed in the RGV.
Many MS-13 members are crossing the Southern Border after traveling from countries like El Salvador and Honduras.
Although Border Patrol Agents say many are trying to get to bigger cities in the United States, some do continue their illegal activities right here in the Rio Grande Valley.
"We do encounter them, smuggling things or as caretakers of stash houses," said Medina.
Those stash houses can house up to 50 people at a time with deplorable living conditions, many without food or water for days, but that is not the worst part.
"We're mixing various people, we have mothers, children we don't know, people with criminal history, pedophiles, gang members, MS-13, 18th Street gang members, sex offenders, violent offenders," said Medina.
Agents say as the number of Mara Salvatrucha members coming into our area goes up, so are the attacks on Border Patrol Agents.
For fiscal year 2017, 422 agents were assaulted, compared to the year before where 151 agents.
They can be anything from physical confrontations, fists, it can be biting, spitting it, shot at, run over by vehicles," said Medina.
The Rio Grande Valley sector has the highest numbers for immigrant apprehensions and drugs in the entire nation. Agents say they don't foresee the numbers going down anytime soon until their manpower increases and more resources are made available.
"These all go back to the symptoms of having a chaotic border. We will continue to see increases in these kind of statistics that are becoming common to the Rio Grande Valley," said Medina.
But being understaffed is not stopping RGV Border Patrol agents from cracking down on criminals.
On Sunday, a man loading drugs to a car was spotted by agents in Rio Grande City.
When he noticed agents going after him, he drove the car into the river and fled on foot to Mexico.
When the car was searched, over 900 pounds of marijuana were found inside.
But that was not the only encounter agents saw on Sunday.
In Weslaco, a man who failed to stop when Border Patrol agents tried to pull him over for suspicion of having drugs, crashed into one of the Border Patrol Units before slamming into a utility pole.
He was taken into custody.