EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Migrant encounters are up to 1,000 per day in the El Paso Sector, as border agents continue to find unauthorized foreign nationals in vehicles, stash houses, highway checkpoints, and lying injured in the desert.

Officials say they’re also coming across a few U.S. citizens transporting drugs over the border for the Mexican drug cartels. Events in the past seven days include 19 instances of human smuggling schemes involving vehicles, the arrest of eight individuals with criminal records, 10 migrant rescues, and raids on nine migrant stash houses.

“These events within the last seven days highlight how complex our border environment has become and the determination by our Border Patrol Agents to adjust operationally as needed to address the present threat while increasing the life and safety of any human being,” said El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez.

The 1,000-a-day apprehension average would put the El Paso Sector on pace to surpass the 25,614 total encounters recorded in March. The sector’s all-time record for a single encounter was set in May 2019, with 1,036 migrants apprehended in a single event.

Through April of this fiscal year, which began in October, El Paso agents have encountered 113,281 migrants, which represents a daily average of 625 encounters and a 57.8% increase compared to the same time last year.  

The 193,918 encounters in Fiscal Year 2021 — a daily average of about 530 encounters — were the most encounters in recent history, Border Patrol officials said.

The complexity Chavez talks about could be seen on a May 4 joint operation between the Border Patrol and Texas Department of Public Safety officers in a residence near the intersection of North Loop Drive and Zaragoza Road in El Paso’s Lower Valley.

Federal and state law enforcement agents found 18 people there, nine of them migrants illegally present in the United States and nine U.S. citizens.

Two of the Americans at the house had active criminal warrants and several others were “confirmed gang members,” the Border Patrol said.

Foreign nationals found at stash house. (courtesy U.S. Border Patrol)

Two handguns and a sawed-off shotgun also were found inside

. The enforcement action culminated with one of the U.S. citizens being charged with a federal count of conspiracy to harbor or transport unauthorized migrants and two of the foreigners – one from Ecuador and one from Mexico – being processed for illegal reentry.

Some of the migrants apprehended along NM Highway 9. (photo courtesy U.S. Border Patrol)

The rest of the migrants were expelled to Mexico under Title 42 public health rule.

Photo courtesy U.S. Border Patrol

On May 5, border agents tracked two vehicles driving in tandem along New Mexico Highway 9 – a lonely stretch of asphalt running parallel to the U.S. border west of Santa Teresa.

The agents performed a vehicle stop, finding five adult unauthorized migrants and two children in one of the vehicles and seven adult migrants covered with a tarp in the bed of a truck.

The drivers are facing charges of conspiracy to harbor or transport unauthorized migrants, while all the migrants were expelled to Mexico.

The following day, border agents responded to an emergency call regarding an injured migrant near the border wall.

The woman from Ecuador was complaining of pain in her leg and was transported to a hospital due to the severity of her injuries.

The Border Patrol didn’t say how the woman got injured, though Southern New Mexico officials frequently report tending to migrants who get hurt falling over the border wall.

The El Paso Sector has seen a 57.8 percent increase in migrant encounters so far in fiscal year 2022 compared to the same time frame a year earlier, the Border Patrol said. That translates to a daily average of 625 migrant encounters and/or apprehensions per day, prior to the current spike.