Border Patrol battles influx of dangerous criminals - Tucson News Now

Border Patrol battles influx of dangerous criminals

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Convicted criminals with various tattoos showing their particular gang affiliation. Convicted criminals with various tattoos showing their particular gang affiliation.
New technology helps Border Patrol agents see places they normally couldn't. New technology helps Border Patrol agents see places they normally couldn't.

By Som Lisaius - bio | email

Border Patrol agents are arresting an increased number of dangerous criminals at the border, officials say.

"We're talking about major things. Homicides, sex offenders, big robberies, armed robberies--things to that degree," says agent Mike Scioli.

Scioli says more dangerous criminals are trying to enter the U.S. -- a disturbing yet growing trend along the southern border. 

This past weekend, a group of 34 illegals were apprehended by agents near Ajo. Two of them were members of a notorious and ruthless gang known as MS-13.  How did agents find out? Finger prints and tattoos were a dead-giveaway.

"These two individuals, not only did their criminal record prove they were gang members, but also their tattoo affiliations," Agent Scioli says. "They're all under 13 as the 13th letter in the English alphabet which links them to the Mexican Mafia, the largest gang running in the US right now."

Authorities say the gang has at least 850,000 members. Many of them have drug and human smuggling ties, great contacts to have when trying to enter the U.S. under the radar.

In response to this, local, state and federal officials have beefed up security significantly. Just last week, we got a look at what's essentially an X-ray machine on wheels, which can detect virtually anything that anybody's trying to hide or bring in illegally.

But these people aren't coming in through checkpoints and other ports of entry.  Many of them are military trained, organized crime members.  Last fiscal year, the Border Patrol apprehended at least 60 hardened gangsters in the Tucson Sector.  So far this year, they've already arrested 25 and the number is only growing.

Says Agent Scioli, "It just proves again that these aren't people coming over for jobs, these aren't people trying to take care of their families back in Mexico, they're coming over to cause havoc."

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