Agents struck by train were helping nab smugglers

By JACQUES BILLEAUD | May 13, 2011 | 1:44 PM EDT

PHOENIX (AP) — The U.S. Border Patrol has confirmed that two of its agents who died in the line of duty were trying to help other agents head off a group of marijuana smugglers in southern Arizona when their SUV was struck by a fast-moving train.

Border Patrol spokesman Kenneth Quillin tells The Associated Press that the SUV collided with the train early Thursday as another group of agents less than a mile south of the train tracks were pursing six illegal immigrants carrying marijuana bales on their backs.

Agents Eduardo Rojas Jr. and Hector Clark died as they tried to cross the tracks near Interstate 8 and the town of Gila Bend in an attempt to cut off the smugglers as they moved north.

The six illegal immigrants were arrested.