SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — On a daily basis, anywhere from 200 to 300 migrants are entering the United States via a desolate and mountainous area between Tijuana and the small town of Tecate, according to a published report in the El Sol Newspaper.
The article quotes David Pérez Tejada, director of Mexico’s National Institute of Migration in Tijuana.
“Those are figures given to us by the Border Patrol,” Pérez Tejada told El Sol.
But Angel Moreno, a spokesperson for Border Patrol, says he is unaware of such statistics saying that altogether in the month of July, in the San Diego sector, there were about 485 daily apprehensions.
Moreno stated the number includes stops made north of the border between Tijuana and Tecate.
“Criminal organizations are going to look for the path of least resistance,” said Moreno. “If there are areas that are more vulnerable, at least that is the belief of those criminal organizations, then they are going to exploit those routes.”
Moreno told Border Report smugglers tend to shift their routes “from a maritime environment to a more urban setting and to the eastern portion of our area of responsibility.”
This area of responsibility includes a stretch between Tijuana and the town of Tecate, 30 miles to the east, where, according to Moreno, agents do encounter migrants on a daily basis.
“Currently two criminal organizations are at war for smuggling routes here in San Diego,” said Moreno.
Moreno stated bandits preying on migrants have also become part of this war between the two crime syndicates.
“Those bandits have actually been robbing the migrants and they’ve been taking their belongings, holding them at gunpoint for their money,” Moreno said.
Moreno went on to say smugglers are knowingly putting migrants at risk by pushing them through a very unforgiving and dangerous path in the mountains east of Tijuana.
“The terrain is very rugged, it’s mountainous and you also have to take into account the wildlife in the middle of nowhere,” said Moreno. “The area is becoming more dangerous for our agents, too. Whenever in operation, they are partnered up where they aren’t always patrolling in this rugged zones alone.”
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics, during the month of July, there were 15,034 migrant apprehensions in the entire San Diego sector, up from 12,902 in June.
Moreno said he did not know the exact the number of unlawful migrant crossings that have originated between Tijuana and Tecate.