How Border Patrol is combating drug cartels, illegal activity from Ciudad Juaréz

‘In order for border security to work, communication is key,' Border Patrol says


EL PASO – In any profession around the world, communication is one of the most important tools in the workplace.

For the U.S. Border Patrol in El Paso, however, it is the number one key element to protecting the largest border metroplex in the nation, covering more than 260 miles.

“We have a very good relationship with our counterparts in Mexico,” agent Joe Romero, a supervisor for the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, said. “The common goal that we have is to identify what transnational threats are there.”

For nearly 100 years, the El Paso Border Patrol Sector has been in operation as the longest running sector in the country. The creation back in 1924 also marked the beginning of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Today, the El Paso Sector has more than 2,400 border agents under its umbrella who patrol all the way from Fort Hancock, Texas, to Lordsburg, New Mexico.

Romero said because his sector patrols hundreds of miles of international borders, weekly meetings with its counterparts are vital to determine threats.

“One thing that we use is mirror patrols. You have law enforcement on the Mexican side (and) Border Patrol agents on the U.S. side. We literally go up and down the (Rio Grande) area together to show that unity,” Romero said.

Romero said his sector is also different than others along the border in having to deal with both the El Paso and Ciudad Juaréz communities, which have a combined population of nearly 3 million people.

It is also an area where drug cartels view it as a prime operation hub for illegal activities.

“Juarez on the Mexican side tends to be the corridor where the drug cartels seem to fight for,” Romero said.

“We continue to fight the illegal smuggling of humans, at times even the trafficking of humans. The movement of the illegal drugs or other contraband (and) the smuggling of individuals who have criminal records, felonies and gang members,” he said.

Romero said because the two sister cities are tied together with rich history, commercial goods and travel going across the border on a daily basis, their ultimate goal is simple.

“To be proactive, trying to combat and defeat the threats that enter our country.”

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