U.S. Customs and Border Patrol warns it has seen an increase in armed encounters after recovering two firearms during two separate incidents this week.
According to San Diego Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke, CBP agents seized more than 60 firearms last year, an increase of almost 50% when compared to 2021.
“We never know who we’ll encounter as we patrol the border,” he added. “Our agents are the first line of defense against smugglers who have become more aggressive and brazen in their attempts to bring people and narcotics into our country.”
The first incident occured at about 12:30 p.m. on Jan.9 when a '17-year-old boy in a dark-colored Chevy Pickup was referred for an additional inspection at the Interstate 8 checkpoint in Pine Valley.
During their search, agents found a loaded 9MM P80 handgun without a serial number and a 30-round magazine inside a handbag. The driver, firearm, magazine, and ammunition were turned over to the San Diego County Sherriff’s Office.
CBP officers made the second seizure the next day at around 12:13 p.m. when contractors, who were repairing damage to the border infrastructure near Imperial Beach, discovered a loaded 9mm semiautomatic pistol north of the primary border fence.
The firearm and magazine were turned over to the Border Patrol and transported to the Joint California Forensic Center for Processing.