Clashes on U.S.- Mexico border
U.S. Border Patrol agents launched pepper spray and tear gas canisters into Mexican border neighborhoods to counter human traffickers.
Border agents employed tougher tactics in response to increasingly aggressive tactics used by human traffickers in the neighborhood of Colonia Libertad, the Los Angeles Times said Friday.
Past uses of pepper spray and tear gas were targeted directly at smugglers but the new methods inundate areas, prompting several residents to flee and landing some in the hospital, unnamed witnesses said.
The U.S. Border patrol cited 90 assaults against its agents in San Diego since Oct. 1, a five-fold increase from the same time in 2006.
Ricardo Pineda, the Mexican consul general in San Diego, protested the use of tear gas and pepper spray to Border Patrol officials.
"We told them the Mexican government cannot tolerate having Mexican nationals hit with these kind of devices on Mexican soil by U.S. authorities, regardless of the reason," said Alberto Lozano, the consular spokesman.
Border Patrol agents said the pepper spray and tear gas is an attempt to disrupt traffickers and diminish the violence along the Mexican border with the United States, the Times report said. // Copyright 2007 by United Press International