Fire Marshal finds overcrowding in Border Patrol jails

Laredo, TX -- The Laredo Fire Marshal discovered fire code violations during an inspection of detention cells at the Laredo Sector South Station Saturday.

The fire marshal and a department inspector accessed the facility and found six cells exceeding capacity, according to Laredo Fire Chief Steve Landin.

He said the excess of detainees is an "occupancy violation."

The inspection was made after a written complaint filed by a representative of the National Border Patrol Council, Local 2455, according to Landin.

"We told them they couldn't be doing that," said Landin.

Landin said he contacted U.S. Border Patrol Commander Robert Harris, and the two organizations are discussing a solution. He said his department made recommendations -- suggesting temporary cells, and different processing procedures.

A representative for the U.S. Border Patrol Laredo Sector could not confirm the inspection or the fire department's finding. They issued a written statement.

"The Laredo Sector Border Patrol is processing undocumented immigrants as quickly and efficiently as possible to try to avoid any hazards or safety issues," said Laredo Sector Public Affairs Officer, Sara Melendez, in the statement.

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