‘I’m in a no man’s land’: Texas deputy patrols smuggling zones

  • Smugglers pass through small border towns daily, trying to evade officers
  • Communication dead zones are frequent, hard for officers to call for backup
  • Deputy: "It definitely is like the wild, wild West down here”

SPOFFORD, Texas (NewsNation) — Loaded vehicles carrying undocumented migrants pass through small border communities on a daily basis, keeping law enforcement agencies along the border on their toes.

In Bracketville, Texas, an undocumented driver from Honduras with a pending smuggling case was attempting to transport two migrants from Guatemala who hoped to make it to Denver and one from Mexico heading to San Antonio.

All four passengers jumped out of the vehicle and ran, trying to escape law enforcement.

But all occupants were apprehended, and Deputy Felicia Gonzalez with the Galveston County Constable’s Office Precinct 2 said it doesn’t always happen that way.

Gonzalez said she signed up for deployments to Kinney County under Operation Lone Star from Galveston in order to make a difference amid the nation’s immigration crisis. Law enforcement along the border said they never know what to expect during a traffic stop.

“It definitely is like the wild, wild West down here,” Gonzalez said.

She explained law enforcement officers always have to prepare for the worst, especially when working in some of the most dangerous areas along the border.

Gonzalez said she often finds herself out of communication range, and can’t always call for backup in dangerous situations.

“You’ll lose your GPS, so all your internet and all that goes down. You won’t have any of that,” she said. “I’m out here in a no man’s land. I am 100% on my own.”

It’s important for Gonzalez to be on high alert, especially without radio communication or backup.

“Your hair just sticks up on the back of your head, there’s just a telltale sign you just gotta pay attention to,” she said.

But at the end of the day, Gonzalez said she has one goal: “The person that’s you know smuggling the people, their whole goal is to make that money. You know, and mine is to go home at night.”

Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson said the U.S. government has to build the proper infrastructure — the border wall — to help Border Patrol agents cover the border. He said it could help slow the flow of migrants, and by adding other gadgets to it like vision systems, thermal sensors and seismic sensors, can add depth to border infrastructure.

Davidson said it is tough for Border Patrol to recruit because the agents feel demoralized. 

“They feel like they’re not even in the game because they’re not enforcing our laws,” Davidson said. “When they do catch people, the Biden administration just disperses them throughout the country.”

Border Report

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