CBP agents rescue woman being raped at the border, help catch assailant

EXCLUSIVE: Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in Arizona on Monday rescued a wounded woman who was being raped on the Mexican side of the border -- before helping Mexican authorities apprehend the assailant, Fox News has learned.

Agents from CBP’s Air and Marine Operations (AMO) saw the woman being assaulted as they patrolled the Yuma sector in a helicopter. The incident occurred on the Mexican side of the border fence, and about 12 miles east of downtown Calexico.

VIDEO: CBP rescues woman being sexually assaulted at the border

"As [the pilot] got closer, it was apparent that the man was trying to overpower the woman and in his words, look like she was actively being raped," James Schuetzler, Director of Yuma’s Air Branch, told Fox News in an interview on Wednesday.

The agents activated the loudspeaker and sirens on the chopper, which scared off the male assailant. Agents saw him fleeing, and coordinated with El Centro Sector's Foreign Operations Branch (FOB) and Mexican authorities, who arrested a suspect. 

"We have a loud hailer on the helicopter and a siren which allowed him to go ahead and turn on the siren and start yelling commands to stop in Spanish on the loudhailer, which got the gentleman to stop hitting the woman and and doing what he was doing to her," Schuetzler said. "She then ran about two hundred yards north to the border barrier and he ran south."

The aircrew landed the chopper and attended to the woman, helping to control her bleeding from a head wound – even working through the border fence. The woman told them she had been shot. Mexican authorities later took over at the scene and transported her to a nearby hospital.

"My pilot landed his aircraft and got out, was able to make contact with the woman who told him that she had been shot in the head. It was obvious, too, that she had been shot and was just basically clinging to the border fence where he could go ahead and pass gauze and things like that through first aid stuff for her," Schuetzler said. "Once the Border Patrol agents arrived on scene, they had water and medical supplies and were able to pass that through the fence. And thankfully, because of the great partnerships we have out here in eastern and southeastern California and southwestern Arizona, we were able to get a law enforcement and EMS response from the Mexican side of the border."

He said that Mexican authorities have said they can expect the suspect to be charged with rape and attempted murder.

The arrest comes as agents have been scrambling to deal with a continued surge of migration at the border, much of it being assisted or capitalized on by smugglers and other criminal groups. The Biden administration recently announced an operation to target smugglers facilitating illegal migration across the border.

The announcement comes after CBP announced that more than 150 illegal immigrants were taken into custody in Texas in a 24-hour period over weekend following two alleged human smuggling attempts.

Get updates on this story at FOXNews.com.

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