Two US Border Patrol agents were killed May 12 when the vehicle in which they were chasing suspected pot smugglers collided with a high-speed freight train near Gila Bend, Arizona. They become the 28th and 29th persons to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.
Agents Hector Clark and Edward Rojas, Jr. were on assignment with a border task force when, around 6 am, they got a call about marijuana smugglers heading for Interstate 8. They raced toward the scene on a road parallel to the railroad tracks, where a 4,600-ton freight train going more than 60 mph was slightly behind them, heading in the same direction. Suddenly, the agents turned onto a private rail crossing, where the train broadsided their vehicle, pushing it more than a half-mile down the tracks before the train could stop.
The accident occurred in an area known as a place where smugglers trekking north on foot could meet up with vehicles. Later that day, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office announced that eight suspects had been arrested 400 or 500 yards from the site, but that they had not been directly linked to the group Clark and Rosas were going after. Three hundred pounds of pot was seized.