LAREDO – Texas Army National Guard soldiers stopped human smugglers attempting to use a raft to cross the Rio Grande last week. The Soldiers in partnership with state and federal law enforcement made the smugglers turn back into Mexico to avoid being arrested.
The Soldiers were on a dismounted patrol near the riverbank, when they were alerted by their law enforcement communication partners to a raft of attempted human smugglers floating across the border river.
As the smugglers made their attempt to cross, Guardsmen discovered various hiding places human smugglers use to hide illegal immigrants as part of a growing money-making scheme. Soldiers say they often find these immigrants in the tall reeds and thick brush that line the banks of the river before they are taken by smugglers for their illegal passage into the United States.
“It’s about getting into their head,” said Spc. Ramirez, a Soldier assigned to Alpha Company, Task Force Center. “You have to be able to think like one of them to understand where someone in their position would think to hide.”
The Soldiers utilize advanced tracking hardware and software to accurately detect the positions of the migrants and use their knowledge and experience of tracking people through the terrain that surrounds the southern border.
“It’s like a game of hide and seek,” said Spc. Ragland, also with Alpha Company, Task Force Center. “But they’re as smart as you, if not smarter, in ways to get around law enforcement or anybody that’s trying to stop them from illegally immigrating into the US.”
The soldiers on Operation Lone Star operate in this way across the entirety of Texas southern border, and they are trained to intercept illegal immigration before the criminals make landfall into the United States.
The Texas National Guard, in conjunction with interagency partners, is dedicated to preventing illegal migrant crossings from Mexico to the US and stopping cross-border illicit narcotics trafficking.