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Killed Throughout the Border Fence,’ an azcentral podcast

Lee en español

It’s been virtually a decade since a boy in Mexico was once shot lifeless by means of a Border Patrol agent in america. 

His circle of relatives could not consider it. And federal prosecutors did not let it move, even if Border Patrol brokers hardly are scrutinized for over the top drive.

Recorded and retold in Spanish and English, those tales transcend the killing of José Antonio Elena Rodríguez searching for one thing nonetheless elusive on the border: justice.

The ripple results of the violence that evening survive on the U.S.-Mexico border lately.  

José Antonio’s tale, his circle of relatives’s grief and patience in in the hunt for duty for his demise and the way the world border impacts lifestyles within the dual towns referred to as Ambos Nogales are the topic of  a brand new podcast by means of The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com.

It is known as: “Rediscovering: Killed Via the Border Fence,” and it launches season 3 within the “Rediscovering” sequence.  

Episode 1: A steel pass and a painful reminiscence 

To be had now: A U.S. border agent shot 16 occasions throughout the gaps within the border fence within the span of 34 seconds at the evening of Oct. 10, 2012. 

Ten bullets struck and killed 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, who was once status at the Mexico facet of Ambos Nogales, a binational neighborhood. 

The border agent claimed any person was once throwing rocks over the fence and that he fired in self-defense. José Antonio’s circle of relatives disputes that it was once him. 

The taking pictures set José Antonio’s mom, Araceli Rodríguez, and grandmother, Taide Elena, on a quest to hunt solutions and justice for his demise. 

Information about what came about on the usside of the border would keep beneath wraps for years. Within the interim, José Antonio’s circle of relatives mobilized to press the U.S. govt to do so.  

Learn the transcript for episode 1.

Episode 2: An identification published

 It didn’t take lengthy for the circle of relatives of 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez to start out placing drive on U.S. government.

Episode 3: A historical prison showdown

 In a historical transfer, U.S. federal prosecutors charged Lonnie Swartz, a Border Patrol agent, with 3 separate fees within the taking pictures and killing of 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez. 

Episode 4: A seamless quest for justice 

After two legal trials in opposition to Lonnie Swartz wrapped up in Tucson, José Antonio’s circle of relatives grew to become to their civil lawsuit in opposition to the agent. 

José Antonio Elena Rodríguez
The Republic

José Antonio Elena Rodríguez grew up and lived in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. His house was once positioned in a local simply south of the world border fence from Nogales, Arizona. He was once 16 years previous when he died in a cross-border taking pictures in 2012

José Antonio’s circle of relatives described him as a comfortable youngster who beloved consuming chocolates, particularly chocolate. The teenager was once particularly with reference to his brother Diego, who was once older by means of two years. Their mom lived and labored in every other town, about seven hours south of the border, and their father had died after they had been more youthful. The 2 of them lived in Nogales with an aunt. 

His circle of relatives mentioned José Antonio sought after to transform a soldier. However the ones aspirations had been reduce quick together with his premature demise.

The dual border towns of Ambos Nogales shape the biggest binational neighborhood alongside the Arizona-Mexico border. The 2 towns had been based within the Eighteen Eighties with the final touch of the Sonoran Railway that hooked up northern Mexico to the U.S. Southwest. They had been constructed into rolling hills and deep ravines. 

Ambos Nogales

Nogales, Sonora, is the biggest of the 2, with a inhabitants between 250,000 and 500,000. The town continues rising unexpectedly with the arriving of migrants and folks searching for jobs at its huge production crops. Nogales, Arizona, has a inhabitants of about 20,000 and is a significant hub for uploading contemporary produce from Mexico. Greater than $26 billion in items and services and products crossed via Nogales in 2021.

The towns’ location, on the middle of the Sonoran Wasteland, additionally has made Ambos Nogales a significant drug and human trafficking hall. The rugged, parched terrain surrounding town has killed masses of migrants making an attempt to pass into the U.S.

Along with the identify, the 2 towns percentage shut cultural and industry ties with each and every different. Many households survive all sides of the border and pass backward and forward ceaselessly. 

Ambos Nogales: Stretch of Nogales a ‘flashpoint’ in rocking assaults

The U.S. Border Patrol is the biggest legislation enforcement company within the nation, with just about 20,000 brokers. Those brokers are chargeable for patrolling spaces alongside the U.S. border in between the prison border crossings. 

The Border Patrol maintains a heavy presence alongside the U.S.-Mexico border, the place they function checkpoints and behavior enforcement missions in a space as much as 100 miles inside of U.S. territory. 

Arizona has two Border Patrol sectors. The Yuma Sector covers southwestern Arizona and small parts of California across the Colorado River. The Tucson Sector is without doubt one of the greatest in relation to dimension and group of workers a few of the 9 sectors alongside the southern U.S. border. It covers two-thirds of Arizona’s world boundary and is without doubt one of the maximum energetic trafficking routes into the U.S. 

Somebody who has pushed south around the border most probably has learn the indicators: Wearing guns and ammunition from the U.S. into Mexico is illegal in that nation. However the query of cross-border shootings has lengthy been contentious within the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. 

In spaces of heavy cartel combating, like within the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, infrequently gunfire crosses the border north into Texas. However in a lot of circumstances, Border Patrol brokers have fired south to Mexico in pursuit of smugglers or in keeping with projectiles hurled from the Mexican facet

The Southern Border Communities Coalition, which maintains a listing of deadly encounters alongside the border, has recorded 60 fatal use-of-force incidents since 2010. Then again, brokers hardly face penalties.

This podcast by means of The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com is a part of the “Rediscovering” sequence. It is an effective way to connect to necessary moments in Arizona historical past that another way may well be misplaced to time.

Concentrate and subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher Radio or anywhere you concentrate to podcasts.

Earlier seasons within the sequence informed the tale of murdered Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles via never-before-heard audiotapes and revisited the historical past of SB 1070: The way it came about, who advocated for it and why it nonetheless issues.

Don Bolles: Concentrate to the overall season of ‘Rediscovering: Don Bolles, murdered Arizona journalist’

SB 1070: Concentrate to the overall season of ‘Rediscovering: SB 1070’

Araceli Rodríguez, mother of José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, gathers with family and friends on the seventh anniversary of the teen's fatal shooting through the U.S.-Mexico border fence by a Border Patrol agent in 2012.
Araceli Rodríguez, mom of José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, gathers with friends and family at the 7th anniversary of the teenager’s deadly taking pictures throughout the U.S.-Mexico border fence by means of a Border Patrol agent in 2012.
Nick Oz/The Republic


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