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Border Patrol agent shoots smuggling suspect NE of Douglas

A suspected drug smuggler was injured when he was shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent Monday morning northeast of Douglas, authorities said. The incident took place near Skeleton Canyon, near the New Mexico state line.

Border agents were tracking suspects who fled from a truck carrying about 2,300 pounds of marijuana in a remote area east of the hamlet of Apache, in eastern Arizona, Customs and Border Protection officials said.

The truck became stuck in mud, and two men fled, officials said.

"Agents immediately gave chase and one agent caught up to one of the suspects. The agent attempted to arrest the suspect and a struggle ensued. Preliminary reports indicate that the suspect assaulted the agent during the struggle," a CBP update said Tuesday.

During the struggle, one suspect was wounded when the agent fired his pistol, CBP said.

Federal officials discounted earlier reports that the injured man was an illegal immigrant, but didn't ID either of the men nor release their nationalities.

The injured man, who was not identified, was taken to a Tucson hospital via Life Flight aircraft, CBP said. The agent was treated for minor injuries, and was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, according to standard practice.

"The suspect’s condition is listed as stable and he remains in federal custody," officials said.

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The second suspect was arrested without incident after a brief search.

Local law enforcement also responded to the incident, officials said.

Around 11:20 a.m., several members of the Cochise County Sheriff Office responded to a report of a shooting involving a Border Patrol agent in or near Skeleton Canyon, about 30 miles northeast of Douglas near the Arizona-New Mexico state line, said Carol Capas, a spokeswoman with the sheriff's office. 

Skeleton Canyon Road runs south from Apache into the Whitmire Canyon Wilderness Study Area, which spans the border between the two states.

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