Nov. 1, 2012 -- Maybe they should have gone under the fence instead of trying to go over. The Border Patrol says that two would-be drug smugglers got their Jeep Cherokee stuck on top of the 14-foot fence between Mexico and California and had to leave the car hanging in mid-air.
According to the Border Patrol, agents from the Yuma, Arizona station surprised two apparent smugglers early Tuesday morning in the Imperial Sand Dunes area of Southeastern California. The smugglers had driven their silver SUV up a metal ramp on the Mexican side of the fence and were trying to drive down a ramp on the U.S. side when the bottom of the vehicle got hung up on the fence.
In a statement, the Border Patrol said the suspects "fell prey to their own devices" when they used "a make-shift ramp that was not quite up to the task."
Agent Spencer Tippets, the Border Patrol public affairs officer for the Yuma sector, said that when agents approached the Jeep two suspects were trying to free it from its perch. The suspects fled south into Mexico before the agents arrived.
Tippets said the rear gate of the Jeep was open when the agents found it, but the vehicle was empty of any drugs. "That area is very well known for drug smuggling, especially marijuana smuggling," said Agent Tippets. "Given the type of vehicle and the location, we believe it's most likely it was engaged in smuggling." Tippets said the men were probably able to empty the vehicle of contraband before the Border Patrol agents arrived.
The agency removed the Jeep from the fence, and then seized both the SUV and the two ramps.
Smugglers had been intercepted in the area using the same ramp technique in 2011.
Five years ago, Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar was killed in the same area when he was deliberately struck by a vehicle while he was trying to deploy a tire deflation device.