The Texas Border Volunteers are taking matters into their own hands.
The volunteers are spending their own time and cash to help the U.S. Border Patrol protect the home front from drug-smugglers, sex traffickers, cartel members and illegal immigrants.
“This is our home. Somebody’s got to defend it and protect it because there’s some bad people coming across,” said border volunteer Mark Medina. "A lot of times you’ll hear, 'Well, they are just coming for a better way of life,' and I understand it. Some of them are. (But) not a lot them are. (For instance,) the drug-traffickers (and gangs like) MS-13 and the people that are bringing young girls across only to pimp them out when they get into Houston."
The volunteers are made up of people from all over the country -- Medina is from Houston -- and they work hand-in-hand with the U.S. Border Patrol.
They watch over private ranches near the Falfurrias Checkpoint on Highway 281. The ranches are used by smugglers as a way to get around the checkpoint and avoid U.S. law enforcement.
“It’s a problem that’s been going on for a long time,” Medina said. "A lot of people have the misconception that were here just to stop illegal immigration -- immigrants from Mexico -- (but) that’s not the case. There’s a lot of Chinese, a lot of Middle Easterners."
Medina and the rest of the volunteers prefer to never approach anybody trespassing on the ranch. They stay hidden inside the South Texas brush and alert the border patrol.
“We know that there are scouts,” Medina said. "They have scouts going up and down 281 in vehicles, just like border patrol. It’s a game."
In just one week, the border volunteers reported 86 criminal trespassers -- 55 of whom were captured by border patrol.
The volunteers estimate they’ve saved U.S. tax payers a total of $600,000 by keeping the trespassers out.