Agent Ivie Death Likely a Result of Confusion Surrounding Drug Smuggling; Another Agent Dead in Texas

By Janice Kephart on November 5, 2012

According to the Arizona Republic, a 39-page report on the October 2 death of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie has been released by Cochise County, Ariz., Acting Sheriff Rod Rothrock. The report includes interviews with both of the surviving agents involved as well as first responders to the scene.

The report indicates that an insecure border likely was a contributing factor in the death of Agent Ivie and that other people, possibly drug smugglers, were in the area and most likely had set off the sensors to which Ivie and the two other agents (one of whom was wounded) responded. However bullet casings from the scene only matched the agents' guns.

Footprints and litter at the scene indicated recent smuggling activity, according to the uninjured agent, who said she believed she saw three or four figures in the area and heard voices, then yelling, prior to gunshots breaking out. She knew of Agent Ivie's presence through radio communication and sight of his flashlight. (Ivie's flashlight would be a giveaway as to his location, as I have been informed that agents still do not have night vision equipment.)

An outcome such as this could be seen two ways: (1) the drug cartels are encouraged that agents may accidentally turn their guns on each other due the heightened sense of alert caused by the cartels' activities; or (2) the drug cartels are on notice that while the Border Patrol is extremely careful about using deadly fire, they will do so if need be.

What the sheriff's report makes clear is that an insecure border was likely a strong contributing factor to the confusion that ended in the tragic death of Agent Ivie, with evidence that is much more complicated than the FBI's simple line of "friendly fire".

The FBI has not commented on the sheriff's report, nor will say when it plans to release its own report.

Meanwhile, Kimberly Dvorak is reporting that another Border Patrol agent has died while on duty, this time in Big Bend, Texas. An investigation is currently underway in the death of 44-year-old David Delaney. The federal government has said nothing else about the incident so far.