Border Patrol agent and National Border Patrol Council Local 2455 Vice President Jarrad Seely told Breitbart News that “there are giant gaps” in the Laredo sector of the Texas border where agents often have no ability to call for backup. These areas are left without agents assigned to patrol, and when agents do respond to alerts, they are regularly alone in the field with little to no access to cell or radio communication.
“The border is not being patrolled adequately,” Seely said in phone comments made following video commentary for Breitbart. The video of Seely was shot from the edge of the Rio Grande River in the Laredo sector of the border. Seely stated that an agent would respond “most likely alone” to detected cross-river activity in the isolated area. Smugglers’ lookouts in the area often pose as fishermen as they feed information to smugglers, letting them know when the coast is clear to send cargo across the river.
When smugglers or cartel members send narcotics loads over there are members on the Mexico side of the river providing cover with long guns. Seely tells Breitbart, “They have in the past engaged Border Patrol with gunfire in order to try to secure their load.” He goes on to say that basically Border Patrol would fall back in those situations.
Seely was not aware of any agents currently assigned to patrol the area that appears in the video, commenting that the area represents basically unfettered access to the U.S. The closest patrol is generally five miles out. Much of the area is largely unpatrolled, is far from the road, and the time to get out to the remote area is significant due to access issues that often leave agents on foot.
In traveling to these areas with Seely, it was clear that the area posed significant hazards. Not one Border Patrol agent on duty came out while we were present in the area, and the terrain left us on foot for some distance. The ridge near the river hindered cell phone service, and the area is surrounded by dense brush that provides any smuggler with ample cover.
“Right now what we’re seeing is, with the manpower shortage, single man units out in the field,” said Seely. Agents responding to a remote area are out in the field with non-existent cell phone service and spotty service radio reception.
As for when an agent does receive an alert of illegal activity detected in that area, Seely commented, “You’re alone; basically what you have is yourself and whatever you check out for equipment – so a long rifle, shotgun, some less than lethal technology, but that’s it.”
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