Some of the migrants jumped back into the river and swam back to Mexico while the agents apprehended about 19 of their fellow travelers, according to information provided to Breitbart Texas by Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol officials.
A U.S. Border Patrol supervisor was jailed Sunday on $2.5 million USA bond in Texas, accused in the killing of at least four women and of injuring a fifth who managed to escape. He said they were working as prostitutes, and one was a transgender woman.
Ortiz, 35, was found hiding in a truck in the parking lot of a hotel in Laredo, a city of about 250,000 people on the southwest border with Mexico.
Further details were sparse.
"Apparently the suspect pulled out a gun on her and she was able to escape", Webb County Sheriff Martin Cueller said. It's also not clear exactly when and where the crimes took place.
Another woman who is suspected to have been a fifth victim is said to have escaped from Ortiz and alerted authorities to him.
Ortiz, Cuellar said, spent 10 years as an agent with the US Border Patrol. He said all the women worked as prostitutes and investigators were trying to find a motive for the killings.
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The third and fourth were found in the same area this weekend.
A second victim, 42-year-old Claudine Anne Luera, was found shot and left in the road Thursday morning, badly injured but still alive.
Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz told the AP he believes Ortiz has killed four women, including one transgender woman, since September 3.
The names of the victims were not released but Alaniz says two are USA citizens.
A US Border Patrol agent has been arrested on suspicion of killing four women in two weeks and kidnapping a fifth. The prosecutor says he feels comfortable describing Ortiz as a serial killer. Investigators say Ortiz is believed to have been acting alone.
The federal agency issued a statement offering its "sincerest condolences" to the victims' families and saying criminal activity by its employees is not tolerated.