U.S. Border Patrol say drug smugglers could blend in with dune e

U.S. Border Patrol say drug smugglers could blend in with dune enthusiasts

Buttercup Dunes--For this Thanksgiving weekend, thousands of people head out to the Imperial sand dunes to have fun but behind the scenes law enforcement officials are making sure you'll have safe weekend.

Members of the Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue Unit join forces with other law enforcement agencies around this time of year to make sure you have a safe holiday.

But the main mission is to find those drug and human smugglers who might be blending right in with you.

"There is a bit more of increase of smuggling activity, here with all the extra people, smugglers or what not can blend in with all the holiday traffic," BORSTAR agent J. Hughes said.

Hughes said 30 to 40 U.S. Border patrol agents from the Yuma and El Centro sector are added to patrol the area.

Also, members of BORSTAR team are on standby for any emergencies.

Hughes said alcohol is usually a factor in accidents.

"This is an accident waiting to happen here. I don't know if this guy crashed. I'm expecting to be a bunch of wrecks in this area right here," Hughes said. "This used to be really open, you could get through here really easily with good visibility, wind, its usually changing in the sand dunes."

Agent Hughes said a floating fence that was built about 3 years ago has helped deter illegal border crossers and smuggling activity.

But he said sometimes shifting sands makes it easier for a smuggler to cross over.

"They constructed this fence entirely through the sand dunes, its basically a floating fence, its not fixed into the ground and occasionally they (Border Patrol) have to come out here, use a big crane and they lift it up, so its on top of the sand," Hughes said. "As you can see the sand will actually pile over it and eventually this would be buried entirely."

Though there will be too many people to for agents to keep an eye on, they encourage you to report any suspicious activity you may see.

The U.S. Border Patrol hotline to report suspicious activity is 1-800-903-2003.

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