The U.S. Border Patrol reported Wednesday that its agents have been attacked 250 times on the Mexican border since Oct. 1, a 38-percent increase over the same period last year.
Agents have been hit with rocks, bottles, and Molotov cocktails. The Border Patrol says that the increase in attacks is due to rising frustration among smugglers who are finding it more difficult to cross the border.
"Criminals are discovering they can no longer operate with impunity in certain areas and are systematically being prevented from using the border for their criminal activities," Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar said in a news release.
The Border Patrol's San Diego-based agents have endured the lion's share of the attacks. They were attacked 110 times from Oct. 1 through Sunday, up from 24 attacks during the same period last year.
Border Patrol agents in California and Arizona now have access to PepperBall guns and other less-lethal weapons. In addition, agents have launched tear gas into Tijuana, Mexico, several times to quell attacks.
In the last 12 months, Border Patrol agents were attacked 987 times on the Mexican border.