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Border Patrol agent killed, another wounded in Arizona

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot dead and another wounded while on patrol on Tuesday in a drug smuggling corridor in Arizona, near the border with Mexico, authorities said.

Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene in Naco, southeast of Tucson, at 1:33 a.m. local time (4:33 a.m. EDT/0833 GMT) by the Border Patrol following reports that one of its agents had been shot, Cochise County Sheriff's spokeswoman Carol Capas said.

Deputies found one dead agent and another with non-life-threatening injuries, Capas said.

"As they were walking up the trail, they reported taking gunfire," Capas said. "We have unknown suspect or suspects at this point."

FBI agents are investigating the shooting, authorities said. Officials did not identify the deceased agent, pending notification of the agent's family.

Despite the construction of a tall, steel fence along the border with Mexico, the town of Naco remains a corridor for marijuana trafficking and human smuggling.

Capas said the agents were assigned to the Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station, named last month after the agent whose murder in the line of duty was linked to a botched U.S. operation to track guns smuggled to Mexico.

(Reporting by David Schwartz and Daniel Trotta; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Stacey Joyce)

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