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The Region

November 16, 1986

Automatic weapons and armored personnel carriers will be made available to some U.S. Border Patrol agents, possibly by early 1987, to help combat the rising incidence of violent acts by illegal aliens and drug smugglers, U.S. immigration officials said. Border Patrol officials in San Diego said that since January, 1984, five agents have been shot and wounded by bandits who prey on illegal aliens in the rugged canyons that straddle the U.S.-Mexican border. Acquisition of the Army surplus M-14 rifle, in particular, represents a radical departure in strategy because until now agents have relied on .357 Magnum pistols and a variety of rifles and shotguns. The M-14 uses a 20-round magazine and has a selector switch that enables the weapon to be fired automatically.

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