A Border Patrol agent died in an all-terrain vehicle accident near McAllen, Texas, Wednesday morning. The agent was tracking a group of suspected migrants away from the border. Raul Ortiz, Chief of the United States Border Patrol, said the agent’s coworkers located the unresponsive body and initiated lifesaving efforts.
Please see statement on today’s death of a Border Patrol agent assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Sector.@USBPChiefRGV pic.twitter.com/513YM988yD
— Chief Raul Ortiz (@USBPChief) December 7, 2022
According to Ortiz, the Border Patrol agent was transported to an area hospital where he later died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. The identity of the agent has not been released by the agency as of press time.
The Border Patrol has suffered serious losses to its ranks due to line of duty deaths and suicides. In 2021, the Border Patrol experienced more deaths than any other year in the agency’s history. A total of 15 agents died in 2021. The leading cause for agents was related to COVID-19 exposure. Line-of-duty deaths in the Border Patrol increased by 275 percent in 2021 compared to 2020.
Suicides among agents is also a concern as they experience record-setting apprehension numbers across the southwest border. In November, three agents ended their lives. The latest of the three, 49-year-old Robert Boatwright, was assigned to the Las Cruces Station within the El Paso Sector.
Also in November were Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Javier R. Fabela and Special Operations Supervisor Roque Sarinana. Both were assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Sector.
The agency has dealt with record breaking levels of migrant apprehensions since 2021. The line of duty deaths and off duty suicides come as the agency struggles to keep in pace with the migrant influx.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.