CA vows to catch "wrong-way" smugglers

| 8/16/2002

San Diego Border Patrol agents along I-8 are increasing efforts to catch illegal-immigrant and drug smugglers who barrel into oncoming lanes of traffic to evade capture, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Agents are prevented from pursuing vehicles traveling against traffic because of increased risk. But agents are now being placed on the southbound side of the port of entry to intercept the illegal vehicles. Officials also are using helicopters to track vehicles as they approach the border.

The Border Patrol said there's been at least 16 instances of wrong-way smuggling in the last year and five in the last month.

In other efforts to avoid capture, the smugglers are filling their tires with a silicone gel so they can pass tire-shredding spike strips. In addition, they use reinforced bumpers that can ram oncoming cars, says the Border Patrol. The smugglers tend to travel when traffic is light, usually from midnight to 3 a.m.