EXCLUSIVE: Texas’ Most Remote Sector Sees Unprecedented Border Crossings, Says Chief

Van Horn Station Border Patrol agents apprehend 115 migrants in Texas' most-remote sector. (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Big Bend Sector)
Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Big Bend Sector

Illegal border crossings in Texas’ most remote sector reached unprecedented levels as most attempt to avoid apprehension by Border Patrol. The Big Bend Sector chief says large numbers of those apprehended are single adults — many wearing camouflage to blend with the desolate surroundings.

“We have seen a significant increase in traffic coming into the Big Bend Sector,” Chief Patrol Agent Sean L. McGoffin told Breitbart Texas in an interview this week. “It’s new for us. It’s new for our communities. It’s something we haven’t seen in the past.”

Big Bend Sector agents witnessed a nearly 400 percent increase in border apprehensions through the end of April, according to the CBP Southwest Border Encounters reported. The apprehension of single adult migrants increased by 422 percent.

“So far this year, we’re well over 22,000 apprehensions for this sector,” McGoffin reported. “That is well above normal. The highest we ever had in a year was a little over 9,000 apprehensions.”

“We’re seeing a more concerted effort here, in Big Bend Sector, than we’ve ever seen before,” the chief explained. “We’re seeing folks in camouflage that we’ve never seen before. These are all new tactics.”

McGoffin said transnational criminal organizations are adapting their business models and targeting these crossing through a very dangerous terrain and hostile environment.

“It’s a simple business proposition. We’re talking about organized crime,” he continued. “They’re looking at this as another business opportunity. In the past it was deemed inhospitable, difficult terrain. Now they’re looking at this as an opportunity, not a deterrent.”

“More important than anything else — organized crime sees these people as a commodity,” McGoffin stated. “They do not see them as human beings. They recruit them, they bring them across the border, and if they can’t maintain themselves with the group, they leave them there.”

So far this fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2020, Big Bend Sector agents recovered the bodies of 20 migrants after they were abandoned by human smugglers. That compares to five during the same period last year, the chief said.

McGoffin’s Border Patrol agents carried out more than 200 rescue events leading to the rescue of more than 500 people.

“Life-saving measures are an absolute priority for us in the United States Border Patrol,” the chief stated. “We’re mothers, we’re fathers, we’re husbands, we’re brothers, we’re sisters — we have family members. We would never want anyone to be hurt, so this is why we go into this immediately.”

McGoffin explained the cruelty carried out by the criminal human smugglers against migrants. He said the smugglers pack the migrants into overcrowded stash houses near the border — often with long waits before being moved inland. His agents find migrants packed into overloaded vehicles and tractor-trailers. These smuggling incidents often lead to dangerous vehicle pursuits.

The chief said the deployment of new layered technology enabled the agents to detect and interdict more smuggling events this year. He said this is frustrating the organized crime members who are becoming more desperate to move their human cargo inland.

The Big Bend Sector agents received more technology this year including automated surveillance towers, mobile surveillance vehicles, and Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS), that enable more efficient dispatching of agent resources.

“We’re really excited about the investment in the Big Bend Sector this year,” he explained. “With that commitment in technology, we can attribute to more than 30 percent of our apprehensions this year. We’re seeing a lot of help coming from these technologies.”

Chief McGoffin is a 25-year veteran Border Patrol agent. His career took him to many regions of the southwest and northern borders. Before becoming chief of the Big Bend Sector, McGoffin served in the Tucson and El Paso Sectors along the southwest border. He served multiple tours of duty at CBP headquarters in Washington, DC, and at the Border Patrol Academy.

McGoffin also expressed his gratitude to the support his agents receive from the communities they serve and their law enforcement partners including local sheriffs and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“I’m really that these agents are out there working with their communities,” he concluded. “I think, oftentimes, the communities are not given the recognition they deserve.”

He said the ranchers and farmers and other community members are more sets of eyes that help the agents be more effective in finding the illegal border crossers.

“Having that good relationship out there is really good for us because we get those reports,” McGoffin said. “The ranchers, the farmers, the other members of the community feed us that information that just makes it that much better.”

The Big Bend Sector, originally named the Marfa Sector, covers more than 135,000 square miles and encompasses nearly 120 Texas and Oklahoma counties stretching from 510 miles of the Rio Grande border to the Texas Panhandle and all of the state of Oklahoma.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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