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Agents assigned to the Ajo Station encountered a large group of Central American families after they illegally entered the country west of Lukeville, Tuesday morning.

Agents operating mobile surveillance technology detected the group of 102 persons, walking in the United States along the vehicle barrier that serves as an international boundary with Mexico. Much like the other large groups encountered in this area within the last six months, all of the individuals who surrendered to agents were Guatemalan and Honduran nationals, with children accounting for more than half the group, 12 of which were unaccompanied.

Agents provided security for the group and transported them to the Ajo Station for additional processing.

“Smuggling organizations have expanded their exploitation of Central Americans to unprecedented levels,” said Tucson Sector Chief Roy Villareal. “By transporting these large groups of families to remote desert areas, it’s clear they have little regard for the safety and well-being of these families. Their sole intent is to disrupt border security efforts.”

Illicit transnational criminal organizations exploit the vulnerability of foreign nationals with false promises of legal status and encourage dangerous border crossings, placing lives at risk.