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U.S. Border Patrol steps up safety after kidnapping threat

The U.S. Border Patrol stepped up safety precautions after a man said a Mexican organized crime cartel kidnapped a border agent. Officials said there are no reports of missing agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector in south Texas.

By
Amy R. Connolly
The FBI is investigating a claim that a United States Border Patrol agent was kidnapped. So far, the claim is uncorroborated. Photo by Art Foxall/UPI
The FBI is investigating a claim that a United States Border Patrol agent was kidnapped. So far, the claim is uncorroborated. Photo by Art Foxall/UPI | License Photo

LA JOYA, Texas, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The FBI is looking into a claim that a U.S. Border Patrol agent was kidnapped by a Mexican crime cartel in a small, Texas border town. Officials said none of the 3,100 agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector have been reported missing, but the investigation is ongoing.

Border patrol officials said the incident began with a series of threatening phone calls to the La Joya Police Department on Thursday. The caller said he was from Mexico but the phone number was from Texas, authorities said.

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Many of the Border Patrol's on-duty agents were reached by phone on Friday. Authorities are still trying to reach some off-duty agents. Even though the kidnapping claims seem to be unfounded, authorities have stepped up safety precautions in some border towns.

In the El Paso sector, which stretches about 268 miles, agents are being told to keep in constant contact with headquarters.

"At this time, the authenticity of the phone call received by the La Joya Police Department is uncorroborated. Nevertheless through an abundance of caution, El Paso sector has enacted safety protocols sector wide. The sector maintains communication with headquarters of the Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection," the U.S. Border Patrol said.

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