BORSTAR agents reassigned to West desert - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

BORSTAR agents reassigned to West desert

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AJO-An elite unit with the Border Patrol is logging in lots of hours this week. 

Members of Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue ( BORSTAR) are being reassigned to areas where they are needed to help save lives due to the extreme temperatures out in the remote areas.

As the morning sun comes up, BORSTAR agents brief about their days assignment. One of supervisors told the agents, “There's been a recent spike in rescues and medical calls out there.”

So they hitch up their off road vehicles because where they're heading they're going to need them.

Border Patrol agent, David Jimarez, said.  “So we have our unmanned aerial system who just spotted a group of nine . We have an ATV unit who is less than a mile out of the coordinates.”

Out  in the west desert the temperatures can reach well over 120 degrees making it challenging for BORSTAR agents to reach those in distress.

A BORSTAR agent who asked not to be identified said, “We do take pride in all rescues being able to help all people. You don't want to see anybody die out here and with these temperatures it happens a lot.”

This agent has been with BORSTAR for five years, he is protecting the public such as a group of migrants he came across who had been in the desert for days.

One of the rescued said  the guide or coyote abandoned them after they saw border agents were in the area.

He said, “He left us, with little water, we had been walking for four days. I'm thankful the agent came when he did.”

The west desert is considered one of the busiest areas for smugglers to bring in people and drugs.

This BORSTAR agent who rescued the migrants is also a paramedic.  He rode his ATV to help them.  “They were severely dehydrated, they weren't going to be able to go much farther,” he said

Had the agents not found them and quickly given them the medical attention they needed, the BORSTAR agent said, “They would have been in very bad shape by the end of today  so it's good when we found them when we did.”

So the question is why do these migrants risk their lives to cross the deadly desert during the hottest time of the year?

The man who was rescued said, “It's out of necessity”

John Redd is a veteran BORSTAR agent who supervises the unit. He was also in the first national graduating class 19 years ago.  He said “It's risk vs. reward.”  He added, “They're desperate to come here and that's a means for them to cross through our deserts and BORSTAR is here and trained to deal with 911's and medical calls and the rescues.”

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