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Caught in the Act, Agents Apprehend Suspected Arsonist

OCOTILLO, Calif. – El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents apprehended an undocumented individual accused of starting fires in the Jacumba Wilderness region Saturday afternoon.

The incident occurred at approximately 2:15 p.m., when El Centro Station Dispatch notified agents working in the field of a fire in the Jacumba Wilderness Region. Agents responded to the given location and at approximately 2:50 p.m., they located an unknown individual in the vicinity of the reported fire, attempting to start another fire. Agents attempted to extinguish the second fire but had little success.

El Centro Station notified the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the situation. BLM stated that they would provide assistance by dispatching a fixed wing aircraft with firefighting capabilities to the location of the fires. BLM responded to the area with an engine, a hand crew, and helicopter in addition to the fixed-wing aircraft. The combined resources and firefighting efforts were able to control the fires. The next day, at approximately 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning, the fires had been successfully extinguished.

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The accused arsonist, an 18-year-old male Mexican national, was arrested for illegal entry into the United States, and transported to the El Centro Sector Processing Center (CPC).

BLM interviewed the individual at the CPC and will be investigating the fires as arson. 

U.S. Border Patrol will process this individual accordingly.

“Our environment and natural places are national interests that all Americans hold dear,” said Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino. “I would like to thank our partners at Bureau of Land Management as they work tirelessly to conserve and protect the fragile Jacumba Mountains Wilderness area; the location where this undocumented migrant purposefully set fire to endangered Big Horn Sheep habitat.”

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