WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. border officers found a wire between two fences along the U.S.-Mexican border that, when stretched taut, could have seriously harmed or even decapitated Border Patrol agents, Congress was told Wednesday.
The wire was about 4 feet high when pulled tight, or about neck level for an agent on an ATV, officials say.
"It was configured in a way so that, if it was pulled, it would take off the head of a Border Patrol agent riding in an open car," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said at a House budget hearing.
The wire was discovered Saturday when authorities monitoring a surveillance camera saw two people on the north side of the border east of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, in the San Diego sector.
Border Patrol agents sent to the area found a thick metal wire tied to a secondary fence.
The wire stretched across the border road and led into Mexico through a hole in the primary fence, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
When pulled tight, the wire would be about 4 feet high -- about neck level for an agent riding on an all-terrain vehicle, CBP said.
Officials said they suspected that drug or illegal immigrant smugglers were involved.
No arrests were made on either side of the border. The wire was removed, and no injuries or damage took place, CBP said. E-mail to a friend
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