FRONTON, Texas – The Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety have secured an island along the US and Mexico border, long considered one of the most dangerous areas in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Texas National Guard and its law enforcement partners were no strangers to the area near the small community of Fronton, and its formerly lawless island in the Rio Grande. The island has long been known as an area for cartel smuggling operations involving narcotics, weapons, money and high-value individuals. The densely-wooded area provided concealment for trans-national criminal activity, and has been a problem for decades according to law enforcement familiar with the area.
Operation Lone Star Guardsmen began securing the island and denying access to cartels in early October. Security operations cleared the area of criminals to protect Guardsmen there. Extensive brush clearing and road construction was completed by Guard engineers followed by installing triple-strand concertina wire along the shore.
“Our engineer teams installed over 1.4 miles of wire along the Texas-Mexico border,” said Sgt. Jake Jordan, Joint Task Force Lone Star Special Response Team platoon sergeant. “The project was executed in a timely and safe manner, and provides not only the wire blocking obstacle, but allows Guard and law enforcement freedom of maneuver around the entire island.”
Although illicit narcotics and weapons smuggling had been the primary use of the area in recent years, cartel organizations had recently begun escorting large groups of illegal immigrants in the Fronton area, using the island to enter the U.S. without detection. The clearing project and concertina-wire obstacles help prevent these large groups from crossing illegally, according to OLS officials.
“Clearing the 170 plus acres of heavy brush by our engineers will provide excellent visibility of the island down to the Rio Grande River,” said Lt. Col. Johnny Guerrero, Joint Task Force Lone Star Chief of Staff. “That visibility will allow our security points and law enforcement partners to observe illegal smuggling prior to crossing the river.”
Fronton Island has been transformed from a criminal haven to a safe area of operations to protect Texas from illegal drugs, weapons and human trafficking. Texas National Guard skill, manpower and resources are directly contributing to the safety of Texas.