EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A 37-year-old woman from Ecuador became unresponsive and died shortly after crossing illegally into the United States, federal officials said.
The woman was part of a group of three foreign nationals found Monday night in a remote desert area 2 miles south of Hondale Road in Luna County, officials said. Luna County is across the border from Chihuahua, Mexico.
Luna County Central Dispatch had requested the assistance from the U.S. Border Patrol around 8 p.m., after receiving a call that three people had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally and a woman in the group was in “dire medical distress.”
Before agents could locate the border crossers, the caller contacted Luna County dispatch again to say the woman was no longer breathing. When they found the group around 9 p.m., Border Patrol agents discovered that the woman was unresponsive, had no pulse and started CPR, the agency said in a statement.
The agents called for a medical airlift and cleared a landing zone for the air ambulance, the Border Patrol said. The woman was flown to a Deming, New Mexico hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Border Patrol agents detained the woman’s 52-year-old husband, also from Ecuador, and a 39-year-old Mexican national who traveled with them. The two were later taken to an immigration holding facility pending removal from the United States, the Border Patrol said.
The head of the Border Patrol in the El Paso Sector, which includes southern New Mexico, blamed human smugglers for leading the woman and others before her to their deaths.
“Border Patrol agents across the El Paso Sector have had an uptick on responding to medical distress calls in recent weeks,” El Paso Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said. “Tragically, due to the reckless disregard of transnational criminal organizations who purposely guide people to cross illegally into the U.S. to face the harsh conditions of the environment along with high temperatures, have led many of them to their death.”
The agency encourages citizens to report suspicious smuggling activity while remaining anonymous by calling 1-800-635-2509.