Posted on April 11, 2011

Not ‘A Mile’ of Border Secure, Texas Sheriff Says

Penny Starr, CNS News (Cybercast News Service), April 11, 2011

Texas Sheriff Tomas Herrera said he does not agree with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s assessment of security at the U.S.-Mexico border as being “better than it has ever been.”

Herrera, in a telephone interview with, said that not “a mile” of the 85-mile stretch of border in Maverick County, Texas, which is separated from Mexico by the Rio Grande River, is secure and that the violence of Mexican drug cartels is spilling over into the United States as cartels come into Texas and kidnap teenagers for their smuggling operations.

“They come in and kidnap some of our citizens in this county and take them into Mexico,” Herrera told “We’re talking about young kids.”

“These are high school kiddos and junior high kids that are used by the cartels to smuggle drugs into the United States,” said Herrera, who has been in law enforcement for 37 years and sheriff of Maverick County for five.


But the local paper in Eagle Pass, Texas, The News Gram, published a story on March 31 about a press conference held by the Eagle Pass Police Department and an official from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s regional office.

“It is perhaps one of the dirtiest secrets in Eagle Pass,” the article stated. “Young men and women kidnapped in our area and taken across the border, held for ransom or simply made to disappear.

“The whispers echo in high school gymnasiums, restaurants and churches and they all tell a sobering story–it happens and it happens often,” the article stated.

The law enforcement officials warned parents to tell their children about the dangers of associating with drug cartel members. In one case, still under investigation, a 17-year-old boy was picked up “and held captive in Mexico while his family collected enough money to pay a ransom,” the article stated.

“Chief of Police Tony Castaneda has made it publicly known that area teenagers are being targeted for initiation by Mexican drug cartels in what is quickly becoming a losing battle in the US /Mexico Drug War,” stated the article. {snip}

Herrera said that kidnappings aren’t the only violence that is spilling over from Mexico. He said ranchers and other residents feel constantly threatened by drug cartel activity in the county.

“The ranchers up here are afraid to be out there by themselves,” Herrera said. “They are all armed.”


Herrera said houses have been burglarized and even cattle stolen and transported across the river to Mexico.

Herrera said more manpower–“boots on the ground”–is needed to stem Mexican drug cartel violence, and if Napolitano comes to visit Maverick County he would show her what his department faces on a daily basis.