The Criminal Mind is AmazingSubmitted by cactus1010 on Sun, 05/02/2010 - 12:28
On September 13, 2002, FBI agents Sergio Barrio, 39, and Samantha Mikeska, 38, were aboard a freight train traversing the rolling hills of Mount Cristo Rey near the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. They were riding the rail for much the same reason agents from Wells Fargo, Pinkerton’s, and other frontier-era security companies in the Old West rode rails—to thwart a rash of train robberies that had been taking place on that line for months.
According to federal officials, robbers in these remote areas of the U.S.-Mexico border operate by waiting for American freight trains to slow, perhaps from a steep incline, in a desolate area of track—areas which are still inside the United States but just yards from Mexico and escape. As the slow-moving cars creep around corners and bends in the track, robbers jump aboard unseen, then open the rail cars and begin to toss out their contents. Sometimes, says the FBI, the robbers would actually unhitch entire rail cars—usually those located at the end of long, winding trains—so they can take their time removing the stolen goods later.
But on this particular day, Agents Barrio and Mikeska, who were accompanied by a third agent located in another part of the train, were hiding in one car when they noticed a suspected train robber on the roof. The two agents alerted the third agent, who then sneaked into position and managed to pull the suspect from the roof. But, according to reports, by the time he had restrained the rooftop suspect, he noticed that Barrio and Mikeska were off the train and on the ground, staggering back onto U.S. soil with other suspects in pursuit.
Agents Barrio and Mikeska, the third agent soon discovered, had been beaten nearly to death by several other suspected train robbers—suspects who had boarded the train undetected by the American agents. Barrio and Mikeska were kicked and beaten and struck with large rocks, FBI officials said, noting that Barrio had suffered a severe injury over his right eye and had to undergo surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. Mikeska, meanwhile, also suffered from brain swelling and had to have surgery. Both would live, but neither would be the same.
The suspects? They were Mexican nationals, and they had been routinely crossing into the U.S. just to rob the slow-moving trains. What had been a relatively victimless crime—border hopping—had now turned violent, but it was an incident border policy experts and others concerned about reforming immigration issues had seen coming.
By June 1997, violence along the 2,200-mile U.S.-Mexico border, which had been escalating for years, had become so intolerable that U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said from the House floor portions of the border were more dangerous than Bosnia. He also said that American law enforcement officials and U.S. soldiers had been fired upon by Mexico-based assailants at least 10 times in the previous 10 weeks. “There have been more firefights on the border in recent weeks than there have been in Bosnia,” Hunter said before a congressional vote authorizing President Bill Clinton to dispatch up to 10,000 troops to the border to help curb some of the violence, which stemmed mostly from illegal immigration and drug trafficking.