Surge at the border at all-time high, drug traffickers head into rural areas
Illegal border crossings for the month of May reached 180,000. Border Patrol calls that an all-time high. The surge comes as Farm Bureaus across the country call on the administration to get control of the situation.
In Brooks County, Texas, smugglers are becoming more brazen. The county is home to a massive Border Patrol checkpoint. The damaged fence across the street indicates the smugglers are doing bailouts just feet away.
County residents are feeling more unsafe.
“Absolutely! We’ve got people that are actually moving to town, off their ranches. Especially if they’re 30 to 40 miles from the checkpoint and in very rural areas of the county where it takes maybe an hour or two hours for the Border Patrol to respond and get there if traffic is coming up to their house,” Dr. Mike Vickers, a rancher, states.
Increasingly, the smugglers are using these types of locations to move drugs-- they make it around the checkpoint.
“We see a lot of the drug smugglers have their bundles on them or their backpacks and they’re mixed in with groups of people. And, when they get past the checkpoint, they break off and go in a different direction and get picked up somewhere else,” according to Dr. Vickers.
Roma, Texas is a small city just over 80 miles from Brooks County and across the river across from the Mexican city of Ciudad Miguel Aleman. It is no longer a hub for drug smugglers.
“Drug smuggling within the city has gone down,” Assistant Police Chief Francisco Garcia states. “That doesn’t mean we’re not getting drugs coming through the city, because they’re crossing in more rural areas-- the drugs than they are the illegals. The cartels have set up corridors for specifically for narcotics and others for illegals.”
Garcia says that one major reason for this move by drug smugglers to rural locations is the limited police presence.
“For them, their numbers of people, say five to ten mules, it’s easier to hide in the brush than it is inside a town where, if you go to downtown Roma, along the river, you’re going to have DPS or Border Patrol or Roma PD or whoever, just about on every corner,” he explains.
He adds that drugs were common in his stretch of the Rio Grande around ten years ago.