February 15, 2011
by Manuel De La Rosa
LA PALOMA - They said it would happen; some drug smugglers have used a ladder to get over the border fence. It's a new tactic being used to move drugs in the Valley.
Border Patrol agents say smugglers will do whatever they can to move their drugs. The border fence was supposed to slow it down, but it has not stopped the smugglers.
The 12-foot tall fence has been in place for months around La Paloma, near San Benito. Border Patrol agents intercepted more than 600 pounds of marijuana in the Rancho Grande subdivision. They say 10 smugglers were using a ladder to smuggle the drugs.
“I am not surprised. They used two ladders, one on the other and second one on the U.S. side. Then they have a truck there and they put the drugs on the truck," says Mario Guzman, who lives in the area.
While the Border Patrol caught this big load this time around, some resident say this isn't the first time drug smugglers have used a ladder to smuggle drugs over the fence. Guzman tells us for two to three months they have been smuggling drugs that way. Sometimes, they pass it through the fence and other times using the ladder.
Border Patrol uses surveillance cameras here to monitor drug trafficking. Guzman says you might not see the smugglers if you're not looking for them.
Guzman claims the Border Patrol doesn't come around too often. They pass by, but the people are long gone with the drugs by the time they come.
Agents say 10 people were involved with this operation. Eight got away running back into Mexico. They caught two. Those two are facing federal drug trafficking charges.
Border Patrol officials tell us smugglers have tried the same tactic in Hidalgo County. As the government tried to stay a step ahead, so have the smugglers.
Border Patrol spokesperson Rosie Huey says these tactics are proof the fence is adding pressure to smugglers.
"This is a technique we have seen before. Agents are out there vigilant. The smugglers are getting desperate so they're trying to use different tactics to get around our tactical infrastructure and to get a way to get their commodity into the U.S.,” says Huey.
Huey also says the wall is making more things difficult for the smugglers. She says border agents will continue to stay one step ahead.