EL PASO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — El Paso police say four men were found dead Monday in an irrigation canal that diverts water from the Rio Grande to farmers in southern New Mexico and west Texas.
Authorities said Border Patrol agents discovered three of the bodies in a tunnel adjoining the canal, near a section of the waterway that runs along the U.S.-Mexico border. An additional body washed up on the bank of the canal upstream.
The body of the 4th suspected drowning victim was reported by the New Mexico Water District, according to police. They do not suspect foul play in either incident and have not released the names or nationalities of the victims.
Police Department spokeswoman Rose Smith said that while canal drownings have occurred, officials haven’t seen such a high number of victims in a single day.
The suspected drownings come as more migrants are trying to cross the border in Texas, and more water is flowing through the canals, Smith said.
In May, Border Patrol agents apprehended 8,877 single adults crossing the border in the El Paso Sector, more than double the 4,112 taken into custody during the same period last year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The sector includes the southern New Mexico and part of west Texas.
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