Customs and Border Protection Report: Riverine Patrol
Tue, 13 Dec 2011 14:15:08 GMT —
Over the last couple of years, law enforcement agencies along the border have received an overwhelming amount of attention due to the violence in Mexico caused by cartels.
This Customs and Border Protection takes you to the river that divides two countries and introduces you to the agents who choose to protect the American side of the border.
Mexico is only a stone throw away and basically they always have the advantage-- the advantage of surprise, they have the high ground and you are in the low area in the river and they can pop out in any place, said Border Patrol Agent Daniel Ross.
Agents acknowledge guarding the border isn't a job for everyone.
Whether it comes from an agent with a year in the patrol or veteran agents, the vulnerability factor on the front line should never be underestimated.
It's a challenge when we are in situations where fire has been exchanged and it is dangerous but you just have to be ready for it. It may seem relax during the day but when the situation calls for it, you have to be ready and you have to be on your feet. Said Border Patrol Agent Ernesto Ortega.
Days and nights spent on the river vary, it's not everyday that agents rescue an undocumented immigrant from the deceiving currents but it is a common occurrence and so are the misfortunes.
We encountered two dead bodies in the Banworth area recently, one was stuck in the brush and the other, the line agents had found him and we had to come and assist La Joya fire department to try and get him out of the water and we were successful, said Ross.
Riverine agents are a close knit team therefore there is an underlying priority for each person who chooses to become apart of this unit.
Everyday these guys actually put their lives in each others hands, it's their responsibility to watch over one another and make sure everyone comes home at the end of the shift, said Border Patrol Supervisor Charlie Miller.
From daily narcotic seizures to illegal immigrant apprehensions and saving lives, the dynamics of working on the river brings about an intense work ethic.