MISSION — Three heavily armed Texas patrol boats rounded a bend in the Rio Grande on a recent afternoon and came upon two young men paddling an inflatable raft full-speed ahead toward the Mexican shore. The state troopers and game wardens bobbed helplessly in their boats as the men passed their raft and paddled up the bank to others, and a crew of troopers peeked through the tall reeds on the U.S. side for whatever load had just been deposited.

It illustrated the limitations U.S. agencies face in deterring smugglers at the Texas border in the face of Gov. Rick Perry’s recent announcement to send as many as 1,000 National Guard troops down.

Combined, the two gunboats from the state’s Department of Public Safety and one from the Parks and Wildlife Department carried 2,400 horsepower and 15 .30-caliber machine guns — indisputably the most advanced craft on the Rio Grande.

But they were foiled Thursday by an 8-foot raft and smugglers’ scouts who track their movements from the moment the patrols hit water. A short time earlier when the patrol boats passed in the opposite direction, two men — likely scouts — had stood in the same spot holding a fishing net.

Perry termed the latest guard infusion a “deter and refer” mission on Monday; the troops will deter criminal activity and, if they encounter immigrants who have entered the country illegally, they will refer them to Border Patrol.

Since mid-June, Texas already has been paying an additional $1.3 million per week to put more troopers and game wardens in South Texas. The National Guard deployment is expected to cost

$12 million per month and they’ve been told to plan for a year. The soldiers will join the more than 3,000 Border Patrol agents already in the area, plus an unspecified number of state law enforcement officers who’ve become nearly as ubiquitous in recent weeks.

“We were deployed down here not to deal with the federal immigration part of it,” DPS Lt. Charlie Goble said. “We were deployed down here to deal with the criminal element that comes along with it.”

So if DPS or the guardsmen encounter immigrants — including children from Central America who’ve come in droves — they will call Border Patrol, but they will target the smugglers of drugs and people.

It is dangerous work. This week, two Texas game wardens were assaulted while on patrol, Parks and Wildlife Capt. James Dunks said.

One on the river was hit in the side of the face with a rock. The other, patrolling the bank, had a 10-minute brawl with a human smuggler who was eventually arrested.

As those incidents suggest, Dunks said smugglers seem more likely to engage with law enforcement than they were in the past. Still, he said, their preference is to do their work out of sight.

“It’s a cat-and-mouse game,” Goble said. “We’ll counter what they’re doing and then they’ll turn right around and try to counter what we’re doing. ... From the time we launch until the time we recover usually we’re being watched. We just continue changing our tactics right along with them.

“Our mere presence out here is the biggest deterrence.”

(4) comments


Agree DawgDave. Common Sense tells us that coming across any nations border without permission is illegal no matter if you look pitiful.


Just open fire a couple of times and see how fast this nonsense stops.


That thought is in many minds


The above sounds so similar to the PBR's in Vietnam---That I have been told about by many men that manned them or were being taken for missions at the time..

Too bad the admins. that liberals voted into office in 2008 have helped cause the new problem that is going on at the border making it into a 'war zone' and ,are more interested in defending and siding with those gaining access into our country illegally by the thousands .

The admins. present and previous, have tried to sell the people on the idea that our southern neighbor is a 'good' friend to the US. and its people.

No it isn't !
To be frends,you have to have something in common with someone.

In the U.S.,people are suppose to have a created Equal System .
The country/s south of the border have always had a peasant class used for the betterment of the Government and the Wealthy.
They were to be worked liked animals. No matter, where they had to go looking for work and money. Usually its been the United States

The peasants of those country's haven't figured that out yet,
Probably due to the low education or no education, the peasants have been allowed

Anyone who would state those country's south of the border are friendly's toward the. U.S. Are living in a fools paradise.

Any can see, When many of the citizens of the country are not agreeing to thousands of Adult Men, Women and some kids being allowed access to the U.S which breaks its U.S. Laws of the Land.
Those who feel they have a connection to any country' south of the border even though, (they may never have even stepped foot into any those country's).

Will still go out on the street and demonstrate, even to the point at times, burning the American Flag !

Some of these demonstrators have been born and raised in the United States.
But they're loyalty's run low when it comes to protecting the Red, White & Blue from those from a foreign county or that country's government itself.

No they are not friends of the US. and more or less a danger .

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.