Border Crisis Takes Deadly Toll: Border Patrol Agent Dies in 'Line of Duty'


A Border Patrol supervisory agent from the Tucson, Arizona, sector has died in what officials are calling a “line of duty” death

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz announced the death of Anibal “Tony” A. Perez in a Twitter post last week. The cause of death was withheld for privacy reasons, according to Fox News.

However, KVOA-TV in Tucson, citing sources it did not identify, reported Perez had died after contracting COVID-19.

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Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent John R. Modlin shared his sentiments also on Twitter.

Perez joined the Border Patrol in June 2006, according to Ortiz.

He is survived by his wife, three children, parents, and sister.

The loss of Perez comes at a time when the Border Patrol is struggling with policies coming from the White House.

“The agents feel completely abandoned by this administration,”  said recently retired agent Gil Maza, who maintains a Facebook group for current and retired agents, told National Review in an October article.  “They feel like there is nobody out there for them.”

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Maza said that during his 25-year career the Border Patrol, the agency’s image with the politicians, press, and people would go up and down, but, “This is completely different. It’s almost like the perfect storm right now.”

Art Del Cueto, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, told National Review that agents face unique dangers during the coronavirus pandemic.

“You’re seeing that this administration has released over a million into the country with no COVID vaccine, in fact, no vaccine questioning whatsoever,” Del Cueto said.

In response to Perez’s death, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered flags at all state buildings to be flown at half-staff on Saturday.

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“Arizona mourns the loss of Border Patrol Agent Tony Perez,” Ducey said in a statement on his website.

“He put his life on the line to keep our border safe and protect fellow Arizonans. His bravery and selflessness made our communities and entire state stronger — and we are grateful for his service. My prayers are with Agent Perez’s loved ones, colleagues, and the whole southern Arizona law enforcement community,” Ducey said.

An Oct. 8 report in The Washington Post said at least 47 Customs and Border Protection employees had died from COVID-19.

As of that report, more than 11,400 had been infected with the coronavirus, which the Post said amounted to about 19 percent of the agency’s workforce.

The Post report said 11 Border Patrol agents dies due to COVID-19 in 2021, with five dying of the disease in September.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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