Posted: Aug 28, 2012 8:01 PM
Updated: Aug 28, 2012 9:48 PM
STARR COUNTY - Drug runners along the Rio Grande Valley continue to use old tactics to get their loads into U.S. soil, officials said.
Border Patrol officials said smugglers still rely on backpacks to bring marijuana and other drugs into the country.
Officials said drug mules carry 50- to 60-pound bundles and stash them in brushy areas where they can retrieve them later.
"They stockpile it there and then a vehicle will come to load up and try to move it out," Border Patrol Spokesman Henry Mendiola said.
Mendiola said agents trained to track footprints recovered the bundles. No suspects were arrested.
A look at a similar bust shows a familiar technique. A bundle was converted into a makeshift marijuana backpack - including straps.
"We don't hear an awful lot about the actual staging of marijuana, the crossing and the staging," Mendiola said. "What we hear about is what makes the news, which is the vehicle that's going down the road agents are trying to stop and law enforcement is trying to stop. We don't hear about the crossing and the process of moving it through the brush."
Mendiola said some organizations use the same tactic to move loads beyond Border Patrol checkpoints. Others use it as a way to hide bundles.
"Backpacking is basically the staging of the marijuana," Mendiola said, until someone is ready to pick it up.