3 Asians found dead in canal

November 06, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The All-American Canal has claimed three more lives.

The dead, all thought to be undocumented immigrants of Asian descent, were found Monday and this morning by U.S. Border Patrol agents just west of Calexico.

County Coroner Investigator Deputy Gary Hayes said the bodies were all found within a mile and half of each other in the canal.

While he said the victims were Asian, he could not pinpoint their country of origin. He said all were thought to be immigrants.


Hayes added the victims were found without identification.

The first body was discovered by agents patrolling the canal west of Calexico at 9 a.m. Monday, Hayes said. The second was found about midnight today and the third was discovered about 6 this morning.

Hayes said the victims had likely been in the water for about a week, and the three were thought to be between the ages of 16 and 20.

Hayes said agents were continuing to patrol the canal area. He said there is a possibility that more than three people went into the canal at the same time.

Border Patrol officials said they had no details on the case.

They said it is not unusual for immigrants from countries other than Mexico to attempt to cross into the United States from the Mexicali area.

Border Patrol Agent Dionicio Delgado said in this fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, there have been five immigrant deaths locally, with that number not including the three deaths in the canal.

Delgado, a public information officer for the Border Patrol, said this morning his office had not received official word on the three deaths.

Last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 31, there were 89 immigrant deaths in the Valley.

Delgado said people attempt to cross into the country illegally year-round, and while the temperatures are no longer over 100 degrees, it is still a life-risking venture.

Last summer officials from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and Mexico met in the Imperial Valley and declared the New River and All-American Canal high-risk waterways because immigrants use them to try to enter the country.

Officials have pledged to dedicate more resources to try to prevent immigrants from using the waterways to enter the country.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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