Suspected cartel members with weapons and body armor were caught on camera this weekend crossing the southern border into the United States.
Border Patrol agents responded when the three men, seen carrying rifles, were spotted by cameras Saturday in Fronton, Texas, but law enforcement did not find them when they arrived in the area, Fox News reported.
NEW: Per law enforcement source, a group of suspected cartel gunmen armed with rifles & body armor were seen on cameras crossing illegally into the Fronton, TX area in the RGV Saturday night. Elite Border Patrol BORTAC agents were called out & searched area, but found nobody. pic.twitter.com/9GuhQngPKj
— Bill Melugin (@BillMelugin_) August 8, 2023
The armed men were spotted at a portion of the border that sees frequent drug smuggling activity, according to the outlet. Five suspected cartel members were arrested there in June after crossing the border. The men were also carrying weapons and armor.
The news comes as the Biden administration pulls troops from the southern border.
An anonymous Defense Department official told the Associated Press last week that the Pentagon will pull 1,100 troops from the border by August 8. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin first sent the troops in May for a 90-day stint amid the migrant surges surrounding the expiration of Title 42, the pandemic-era rule that allowed officials to turn migrants away. Austin has authorized 400 troops to stay at the border through August 31.
U.S. agents made more than 130,000 arrests along the Mexico border last month, preliminary figures show, up from 99,545 in June. Authorities allowed an additional 50,000 migrants to cross into the United States in July, primarily through Biden administration programs allowing asylum seekers to schedule appointments at U.S. ports of entry using the CBP One mobile application.
The spike in illegal crossings was most pronounced in the deserts of southern Arizona, despite daytime temperatures that often surpassed 110 degrees. U.S. agents there made about 40,000 arrests in July, the highest one-month total for the Tucson sector in 15 years, CBP data show.
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