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El Paso BORTAC K9 brings justice

El Paso’s Border Patrol Tactical Unit and their K-9 assist named Yoda were able to apprehend Danelo Cavalcante, the man who escaped prison after being convicted of killing Deborah Brandão. Photo courtesy of USBP BORTAC

Those outside of El Paso might know the border city for its scorching temperatures and ongoing migrant crisis, but now many can think of El Paso for its phenomenal Border Patrol Tactical and K9 unit because of its most recent heroic effort. 

Many kudos were given to the El Paso Bortac Unit when they were called into Chester County Prison to assist in capturing an escaped inmate. Chester County lies in a rural area about 30 miles west of Philadelphia. While the institution contains multiple criminal offenders, one recent addition to its population is 34-year-old Danelo Cavalcante, a convicted murderer.  

In April 2021, Cavalcante was arrested in Virginia after killing his former girlfriend. Officials also discovered he was wanted for murder in his home country of Brazil.   

Cavalcante went viral on social media after footage was released of him escaping the prison by crab walking up a wall and slipping through razor wire to reach the roof. Officials say this was a technique used for an attempted escape by another inmate. 

Officials say his escape brought on a two-week manhunt that began Aug. 31, that included him traveling through thick bushes, eating watermelon for survival, and even being seen on a home camera, leading law enforcement officials to catch on to his trail.  

The U.S. Border Patrol says in situations like these, BORTAC units provide support all over the country.  

“The men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection provide integral law enforcement support to local authorities, protecting and serving local communities around the country alongside our partners,” the statement said. 

Despite Cavalcante’s efforts, the El Paso Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) and their K-9 assist, Yoda, were able to apprehend him.  

Former border patrol chief in El Paso and Tuscon, AZ, Victor Manjarrez, mentions how she had the element of surprise and how her role is routine in these units.  

“When you’re looking at a high-risk, barricaded, suspects or a potentially violent suspect,” Manjarrez said. “You have a canine handler to subdue the subject on the stomach, on the ground.” 

Thanks to the El Paso Bortac Unit and Yoda the K9, Cavalcante will be serving his life sentence at State Correctional Institution Phoenix. 

Meagan Garcia is the arts & culture editor and may be reached at [email protected].   

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About the Contributor
Meagan Elizabeth García
Meagan Elizabeth García, Arts & Culture Editor
Meagan Elizabeth García is the arts and culture for The Prospector. She is a senior, majoring in mechanical engineering at UTEP. She is also the vice-president for the Creative Writing Society with hopes of continuing a writing career while also working for NASA as an engineer.
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