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Tag: Laredo

Border Patrol Agents Help Crash Victims in 2 Separate Accidents

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents rushed to the aid of car crash victims on two separate occasions this week. 

At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, agents from the Laredo North Station in Texas responded to a tractor-trailer rollover accident on the Interstate 35 west access road near the 9-mile marker north of Laredo. While waiting for an ambulance to arrive, Border Patrol medics provided medical aid to two occupants in the truck.

On Tuesday, agents from the Freer Station in Texas responded to a two-vehicle crash involving an 18-wheeler and pickup truck on U.S. Highway 59 west of Freer, Texas. Agents provided medical aid to four occupants until an ambulance arrived. 

Last year, fast-acting Border Patrol agents sprung into action numerous times when they saw people in danger.

Border Patrol Agent Charged with Helping Smuggle Undocumented Immigrants

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol agent has been indicted on charges of helping smuggle illegal immigrants by letting them pass through a checkpoint

Prosecutors allege Rodney Tolson Jr. received payments in exchange for allowing cars with undocumented immigrants to pass through a checkpoint he was manning near Laredo, Texas, The Washington Times reports. The scheme occurred in early 2019, according to the indictment.

Tolson, who has been suspended from his duties, was arrested last week. 

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission and expects officers and agents to adhere to the oath they take to uphold and enforce the laws of this country,” CBP said.

Earlier this month, a former CBP officer admitted smuggling her undocumented housekeeper into Texas from Mexico as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. Rhonda Lee Walker, who was stationed at the Laredo Point of Entry, agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to bring her housekeeper into the U.S. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dismissed felony counts of illegally transporting the woman into the country and lying to

Ex-CBP Officer Admits Smuggling Her Undocumented Housekeeper into U.S.

By Steve Neavling

A former CBP officer accused of smuggling her undocumented housekeeper into Texas from Mexico has pleaded guilty as part of an agreement with prosecutors. 

Rhonda Lee Walker, who was stationed at the Laredo Point of Entry, agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to bring her housekeeper into the U.S. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dismissed felony counts of illegally transporting the woman into the country and lying to investigators. 

“Walker intended for the woman to illegally enter the country and work for her as a housekeeper and nanny,” acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Lowery said in a statement. “Walker also lied to authorities. She falsely stated Trevino was her biological aunt and denied processing her entry or employing her in her home.”

The investigation, which included nine months of surveillance, began in June 2020 with an anonymous tip to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). The tipster said Walker was employing a live-in caretaker who was not authorized to live or work in the country. 

Surveillance video showed Walker escorting Mexican citizen Yadira Yesenia Trevino-SanMaguel across a pedestrian bridge between the U.S. and Mexico and then walking her through the inspection area, when she scanned in her caretaker’s nonimmigrant visa using a co-worker’s login, according to the OPR complaint. 

In an interrogation, Trevino-SanMaguel admitted she was working for Walker as a caretaker. 

Border Patrol Agent Arrested, Accused of Pointing Gun at Man During Fight

Border Patrol Agent Roman Rodriguez Jr.

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol agent accused of pointing a gun at a man during a fight outside a bar in Laredo, Texas, has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. 

Roman Rodriguez Jr., 33,  faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, The Laredo Morning Times reports.

Laredo police responded to reports of shots fired near a nightclub on Feb. 26. Several people were fighting when police arrived. 

Police said Rodriguez pointed a gun at one of the men involved in the altercation. But it’s not yet clear whether he fired the gun. 

“After canvassing the empty field, officers were able to recover a semiautomatic handgun and seized it as evidence,” police said in a statement. “Officers confirmed that a shot was fired during the altercation.”

In a statement, CBP said Rodriguez was off duty during the altercation. 

“CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe,” Border Patrol said in a statement. 

Border Patrol Agents Rescued 200+ People Stranded During Historic Storm

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents have rescued more than 200 people since a historic storm brought snow and frigid temperatures to Texas. 

“Big Bend Sector Border Patrol Agents have risked their own lives in the on-going effort to patrol the sector despite the winter weather,” CBP said in a news release. “Agents have successfully rescued over 200 people in recent days from dangerous conditions in the area, saving life and limb.”

Many of the people had been abandoned by smugglers or were lost as temperatures plummeted. Some called 911 for help.

Early Wednesday, agents from the Laredo South Station helped seven people who were lost south of Laredo. An agent from the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station in New Mexico is credited with saving the life of a woman with hypothermia who was stranded in the desert during a snowstorm. 

“In addition to the physical and environmental risks faced by individuals hoping to cross illegally into the U.S., they are also vulnerable to life-threatening abuse and neglect by unscrupulous smuggling organizations,” Border Patrol said in a statement. “Criminal entities fill their pockets while exploiting a vulnerable population and have no regard for the safety of migrants. The criminal organizations often attempt to smuggle individuals inside trailers which with the recent low temperatures, the inside can become as cold as a freezer.”

CBP Officer Accused of Smuggling Live-in Caretaker into U.S. from Mexico

By Steve Neavling

A CBP officer is accused of smuggling her undocumented housekeeper into Texas from Mexico and has been charged with making false statements. 

Officer Rhonda Lee Walker, who is stationed at the Laredo Point of Entry, is scheduled to make a court appearance today. 

The investigation, which included nine months of surveillance, began in June 2020 with an anonymous tip to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), The Daily Beast first reported. The tipster said Walker was employing a live-in caretaker who was not authorized to live or work in the country. 

Surveillance video showed Walker escorting Mexican citizen Yadira Yesenia Trevino-SanMaguel across a pedestrian bridge between the U.S. and Mexico and then walking her through the inspection area, when she scanned in her caretaker’s nonimmigrant visa using a co-worker’s login, according to the OPR complaint. 

In an interrogation, Trevino-SanMaguel admitted she was working for Walker as a caretaker. 

Carl E. Landrum Appointed Deputy Chief Border Patrol Agent for the Laredo Sector

Carl Landrum, deputy chief Border Patrol agent for the Laredo Sector in Texas.

By Steve Neavling

Carl E. Landrum has been tapped to serve as deputy chief Border Patrol agent for the Laredo Sector in Texas. 

Since joining Border Patrol in 1996, Landum has served in numerous supervisory and command positions, including special agent with the Federal Air Marshal Service in New York City and assistant chief patrol agent at Border Patrol headquarters in Washington D.C.

In 2011, Landrum was promoted to patrol agent in charge of the Cotulla Border Patrol Station in Texas, and in 2012, he became patrol agent in charge of the Laredo North Border Patrol Station. 

In 2014, Landum was promoted to division chief at the Laredo Sector. He also created the Department of Homeland Security Joint Task Force West in San Antonio. 

In 2016, he became deputy chief patrol agent of the Yuma Sector. 

Before joining Border Patrol, Landrum received a bachelor’s degree of science in information systems from the University of Phoenix. He earned a master’s degree in strategic studies form the U.S. Army War College and became the first civilian to attend the school’s Advanced Strategic Art Program.

The Laredo Sector covers over more than 84,000 square miles in 96 counties from the U.S.-Mexico border to the borders of Texasand Oklahoma and Arkansas and has more than 1,900 employees. The Laredo Sector has nine stations: Laredo North, Laredo South, Laredo West, Zapata, Cotulla, Hebbronville, Freer, San Antonio, and Dallas. 

Border Patrol Agents Fatally Shoot Driver Accused of Pinning Agent Against a Car

Matthew Hudak, chief patrol agent for Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents shot and killed the driver of a tractor trailer on Friday evening after they say he reversed into an agent and pinned him and a migrant against another vehicle in Laredo, Texas.

The CBP said the incident happened at about 9:40 p.m. local time when ICE and the Webb County Constable’s Office were investigating a tractor-trailer carrying people suspected of illegally crossing the border. 

During the investigation, another tractor-trailer approached authorities and “suddenly accelerated in reverse, striking and pinning” the agent and a migrant against another vehicle. 

After the driver failed to respond to verbal commands, agents shot him. 

The agent was injured and released from the hospital Saturday morning. 

The Laredo Police Department and FBI, along with CBP and ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility, are investigating.