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Caught in the act: Border Patrol arrests suspected arsonist

BLM involvment helps agents locate and control flames

OCOTILLO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - The U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) recently arrested an undocumented man who is accused of starting fires in the Jacumba Wilderness region.

El Centro Sector agents say it began at about 2:15 p.m. Saturday when they heard of a fire happening in the middle of nowhere. When agents finally located the fire, they also found an 18-year-old Mexican national attempting to start another fire.

According to Agent Carlos P. Pitones, the USBP had to reach out to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for help controlling the flames. The BLM dispatched a fixed-wing aircraft, helicopter, hand crew and an engine to the scene.

By 9:30 Sunday morning, BLM crews and agents successfully extinguished the fires.

“Our environment and natural places are national interests that all Americans hold dear,” said Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino. “I would like to thank our partners at BLM as they work tirelessly to conserve and protect the fragile Jacumba Mountains Wilderness area; the location where this undocumented migrant purposefully set fire to endangered Big Horn Sheep habitat.”

Border Patrol agents arrested the 18-year-old for illegally entering the U.S., and will process him accordingly.

The BLM plans to investigate the fires as arson after interviewing the Mexican national at the El Centro Sector Processing Center.

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Caleb J. Fernández

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Mercedes Martinez

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