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us department of homeland securityEDINBURG—U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector encountered the remains of eight illegal immigrants, seized an estimated $10.3 million worth of marijuana and busted three stash houses where illegal immigrants were being harbored.

So far for fiscal year 2013, agents have saved the lives of more than 600 illegal immigrants whose lives were in danger due to a variety of circumstances. The number of rescues marks a 132 percent increase over the same time period for the previous fiscal year.

Unfortunately, despite their best efforts and life-saving initiatives such as rescue beacons and the strategic deployment of the Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue team, the harsh environment of south Texas took its toll on eight illegal immigrants over the past week.

The majority of the remains (six) were found in the rugged ranchlands near Falfurrias on Aug. 7-8, according to a press release from the RGV Sector Office of Public Affairs. Two of the bodies were found in the Rio Grande near Mission on Aug. 5 – 6, and the other body was found in the brush near Donna on Aug. 6.

Additionally, agents made multiple drug seizures throughout the past week. One of the largest occurred on Aug. 5 near Rio Grande City when agents spotted a marijuana-laden GMC Yukon traveling away from the river at a high rate of speed.

Agents on the ground lost sight of the vehicle but a helicopter from the Office of Air and Marine followed it to a nearby house. The vehicle’s passengers abandoned the Yukon and sped off in another vehicle. They were apprehended a short time later. Inside the abandoned Yukon agents found more than 1,600 pounds of marijuana.

In another large seizure, agents from the Rio Grande City Station netted nearly 1,400 pounds of marijuana near Garceño. Several additional seizures pushed the total amount of marijuana seized from Aug. 4-8 to nearly 13,000 pounds.

Finally, with the help of local law enforcement agencies, agents took down three stash houses that were harboring a total of 115 immigrants illegally present in the United States.

According to the release, two of the stash houses were busted, in one of the busts the Mission and Alton police departments helped agents arrest more than 60 illegal immigrants and one suspected human smuggler. In the other bust, Mission Police helped agents apprehend 27. Agents took down the third stash house on Aug. 6 with the help of the Edinburg Police Department, resulting in the arrest of 28 illegal immigrants and two suspected human smugglers.

To report suspicious activity, call the RGV Border Patrol Sector’s toll-free telephone number at 800-863-9382.

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