At the end of September, the U.S. Border Patrol RGV Sector will be losing one of their longest serving agents.
Chief Enrique ~Henry TM Mendiola Jr. is retiring after 25 years of service.
Mendiola joined the U.S. Border Patrol in 1988 at only 20 years old.
Back then the job was a bit different.
"When I came in we were still doing ink fingerprints, we had no databases, not even computers, Mendiola said.
And drug seizures were continuing to rise.
"At that point we were knocking down big loads of narcotics on a daily basis, Mendiola said.
Fast-forward 25 years to today-- and things have changed.
The number of agents has increased fivefold and the number of apprehensions has drastically decreased since the mid-80's.
"We have made a lot of progress. Apprehensions are well under the million range where they were back then, Mendiola said.
Thanks to advances in technology and a big increase in funding since 9/11, Mendiola says the border is more secure than ever.
"If you would have told me 25 years ago we would be patrolling the border with unmanned aerial drones I would have said you are crazy, Mendiola said.
Mendiola served in many positions across the Texas border and even built the RGV Sector's communication division from the ground up.
He says it TMs the camaraderie that he will remember the most.
"I TMve made great friends in and outside the patrol, Mendiola said.
Only 45, Mendiola plans to take a little time off before working in private security.