Derek Jordan, Sierra Vista (Arizona) Herald, March 29, 2009
A group of teenagers hiked out here on Saturday morning to collect trash left over from illegal immigrant traffic in the area.
The teens were members of a U.S. Border Patrol program out of the Naco station that seeks to teach skills and offer basic training to teenagers who are interested in law enforcement.
One day a week, the U.S. Border Patrol’s Naco Station Explorer Program teaches teenagers everything from proper handcuffing and arresting techniques to how to handle firearms and clear a building, said William Schaeck, Border Patrol agent and lead adviser of the program.
Explorers are required to put in 40 hours of community service before they can graduate from the 12-week training period. The garbage collection was a good opportunity to pare down a few of those hours, he said.
Bisbee resident Craig Kost, 19, has been in the Explorer program for about a year. He originally joined up for the structure the program offered.
“I wanted to be more disciplined and respectful,” Kost said.
He’s now thinking about a career with the Border Patrol.
As the group moved deeper and deeper into the brush following the wash, sparse traces of litter–plastic bottles, jackets, empty plastic bags–gave way to hundreds of discarded sweaters, shoes and other articles of clothing.
Border Patrol Agent Nora Cosgrove, who guided the Explorers along with Schaeck, said the group filled 27 large trash bags on the 3-mile trip in about three hours before even reaching the large deposit of discarded garbage.
Already faced with at least three full bags to carry per person the 3 miles back to the vehicles, the group wasn’t able to tackle the “motherlode” of garbage.
However, now that the location has been established, agents will continue efforts to clean the area up, Cosgrove said.