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U.S. Border Patrol breaks last year's record of MS-13 and Paisa arrests

The arrests include gang members who are also sex offenders who were apprehended by Rio Grande Valley border patrol agents

MS-13 Gang Members Arrested
MS-13 Gang Members Arrested | Fotomontaje: ADN America

July 19, 2022 3:15pm

Updated: July 19, 2022 6:20pm

Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV) Border Patrol agents arrested four convicted criminal migrants and four gang members over the weekend, CBP said in a press release on Sunday. Three of the gang members arrested were Mara-Salvatrucha (MS-13) and one 18th Street gang member, one of the largest transnational criminal gangs in Los Angeles with a membership boasting from 30,000 to 50,000 members between the United States, Mexico, and Central America. 

The arrest came after Friday when news broke that twelve gang members where arrested within three days (Wednesday-Friday) by Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV) Border Patrol agents. Of those 12, nine were affiliated with MS-13, two 18th Street gang members from El Salvador, and a Mexican national Paisas gang member. 

The Paisa member had a criminal history in the U.S. dating back to 2004, including illegal presence in the U.S. after deportation.

So far this year, CBP has arrested 84 members of 18th Street while 220 arrests from MS-13 have been made and 106 from Paisas, making those three groups the largest gang affiliations apprehended by  U.S. Border Patrol Nationwide.  

The Paisas first emerged as a rural militia that grew out of the demobilized AUC Colombian paramilitary army but later became an independent drug trafficking organization, according to Insight Crime. 

Authorities believe Paisas, which mainly controls small villages and towns to manage the flow of drugs to the coast, sells them to organizations with more extensive infrastructures while moving drugs internationally, including to the Zetas Mexican criminal syndicate. 

In another victory for law enforcement this weekend, Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station (RGC) agents interdicted a firearms smuggling attempt near Falcon Dam after receiving reports from Starr County that migrants or narcotics were possibly being smuggled from Mexico, the CBP said on Sunday. 

Two assault rifles (AR-15), an Avtomat Kalashnikova (AK-47), a bolt action rifle, and a pistol were discovered abandoned by a mesquite tree and seized. While no arrests were made during this event, the firearms were transported to the RGC Station and were turned over to HIDTA as part of an ongoing investigation. In total, 2940 weapons and ammunition have been seized by CBP officers this year.

In 2022, U.S Border Patrol agents arrested 8,354 non-citizens who either had criminal convictions or were wanted by law enforcement, while the Office of Field Operations arrested 12,314, almost a 100% increase from 2021, when 6,567 arrests were made, according to CBP statistics.

Meanwhile,, 665 criminal noncitizens with outstanding wants or warrants were arrested this year, from 1,904 in 2021.

Critics of President Joe Biden’s immigration policies, such as Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, slammed the Democratic Party on a recent episode of Fox and Friends, saying “the consequence of [the lack of border enforcement] is not just what's going to be over a million people in just 18 months entering the country illegally—that we know of. The other consequence of it, which I think begins to deserve more attention, is fentanyl, the drugs that are pouring into our streets and just wiping people out”.

U.S. Border Patrol Nationwide gangs apprehensions are higher in 2022 compared to data from 2021, although encounters with non-citizens are also generally higher than the previous year. 

On Friday, Brownsville Border Patrol Station agents also apprehended Mexican national Juan Ramon Arenas near Brownsville. Arenas is reportedly listed on the Texas Sex Offender list and arrested in Houston, charged with indecency with a child by contact, and sentenced to two years incarceration in 2011.

McAllen Border Patrol Station (MCS) agents also processed a Salvadoran national on July 17, who, according to the CBP, had a criminal history in his home country for sexual aggression against a minor.

Later that evening, Fort Brown Border Patrol Station agents apprehended a group of eight non-citizens near Brownsville. During processing, it was revealed a Mexican national had a previous conviction for homicide in Cameron County and was sentenced to 20 years of incarceration.

That same day, MCS agents apprehended a group of five migrants near Mission. One of the migrants, a Mexican national, was sentenced in 2017 to five years confinement in Texas for driving while intoxicated and 360 days for assault in 2010.