Continuing coverage of the crisis on the Texas border and the surge of unaccompanied minors

Border Agents Work to Keep Drugs, Criminals Out of U.S.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    There is another side to the immigration issue law enforcement wants people to know about: the fight to keep drugs and criminals out of the United States.

    There is another side to the immigration issue law enforcement wants people to know about: the fight to keep drugs and criminals out of the United States.

    In the sky above the Rio Grande Valley, Texas Department of Public Safety Capt. Stacy Holland keeps a close eye on the battle to secure this nation's border.

    "That's the beauty of the helicopter. The helicopter is specifically the force multiplier," explained Holland. "We are dealing with an uptick in transnational gangs, influx of traffic. Our principal effort, out here, is the criminal aspect of the border security issue."

    From the sky, he can spot cars he believes may be possible scouting missions. Smugglers look for the right time to get drugs and gang members across the river and into the U.S. and Holland can get a better view into how porous the border really is.

    Border Agents Work to Keep Drugs, Criminals Out

    [DFW] Border Agents Work to Keep Drugs, Criminals Out
    There is another side to the immigration issue law enforcement wants people to know about: the fight to keep drugs and criminals out of the United States.

    "I can promise you one thing. Right now, underneath us, there's scouts in these trees. You can't see them, but they're there," he said.

    And the fight doesn't stop there. Below the chopper is another arm of the law: armed watercraft on the Rio Grande. Those boats patrol the river, considered one of the busiest highways used by criminals, 24/7.

    "Along with all the immigration, the women and the children, the family units coming across, also comes the criminal activity. That's just mixed in," said Lt. Charlie Goble.

    Goble monitors a 53-mile stretch of the river and already has spotted signs of smuggling.

    "Already saw one group trying to pass. Last night our marine units interdicted about 80 pounds of marijuana and made one arrest," he said.

    The watercraft have guns ready to fight back, because Goble says it's not uncommon to see gang members try to fight their way into the country.

    "They've got the element of surprise. As you can see, they have cover and concealment. They can strike out at us any time," Goble said.

    That's why DPS says there are so many departments patrolling the front lines of the Border Crisis.

    "The drugs that are coming in, it's going to affect every community in the United States tomorrow. We're dealing with it today," Goble said.