Authorities to step up inspections for Mexico-bound guns

The death of U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent Jaime Zapata dealt a major blow to law enforcement agencies throughout the Rio Grande Valley and beyond.

Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said uncovering the alleged murderers used an American weapon to kill the Brownsville native has left people appalled.

There's that feeling that you don't - its hard to describe, Lucio said. What could you have done to prevent something like that? What can we do to hopefully prevent it from (happening) in the future."

For the past month, Lucio said, undercover sheriff TMs department deputies have been patrolling the entryways in Brownsville to help prevent gun crossing.

Sheriff Lucio said the efforts are working.

Recently, officers busted a man trying to smuggle a high-powered weapon in a toy box.

But this is not the only strategy the sheriff's department is working on, he said.

"I have at the present time two officers that are out there training to become trainers for sniffers dogs and dogs that can sniff-out guns and money, Lucio said.

Lucio said his goal is to have a system where local authorities would be permanently stationed at international bridges to assist in searching vehicles coming from and going into Mexico.

"Here's where we could search every vehicle thoroughly and check every person that goes across, Lucio said. And that would prevent a lot of these things from going across."

Although having that authority would not stop every smuggler, Lucio said it would increase the number of seizures and deter at least some of the criminals.

Lucio's statements come at the same time the Texas legislature is looking at a bill to beef up southbound inspections along the Texas border.