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Brooks County Ranchers Worry About Criminal Immigrants

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Posted: Jun 26, 2014 6:16 PM

Updated: Jun 30, 2014 3:02 PM

FALFURRIAS - Sex offenders, murder suspects and gang members are making their way through the vast rangelands of Brooks County.

The Vickers ranch is one of the many land spreads affected by the surge in illegal immigration. What is more concerning to the ranch owners is the type of people trekking through their land.

Linda Vickers never wanders away from her house without her trusty canine companions - Blitz, Elsa, Schotten and Tinkerbell.

The dogs provide a sense of security in a land of insecurity.

"The safety factor out here has changed," Vickers said.

Vickers and her husband own and operate a nearly-1,000-acre ranch in Brooks County.

Vickers reports anyone who crosses her fence line to Border Patrol.

"As of yesterday, 196 illegal immigrants with 136 apprehensions by Border Patrol," she said.

The dogs sniff out those hiding in the brush.

"There are some good, helpless people. Then, there are some really bad ones," Vickers said.

Earlier this week, Vickers took a photo of a man on her front porch. She said the man had a Tango Blast tattoo.

Tango Blast is the largest and one of the most dangerous gangs operating in the state, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

"I sometimes have to take a step back and realize the jeopardy that could happen out here," Vickers said.

It's not just gang members that worry Vickers. Border Patrol agents arrested a wanted murderer near Falfurrias and sex offenders in the Rio Grande Valley last weekend.

"They're everywhere," Vickers said.

Border Patrol Spokesman Oscar Saldana said criminals won't turn themselves in like families and unaccompanied children.

"They may have something to hide," Saldana said. "Some of that criminal history can be very dangerous."

Still, Vickers won't leave her land.

"Even my husband couldn't blast me outta here," she said with a laugh.

Topics: linda vickers, brooks county, ranch, immigration, falfurrias, criminal, immigrant

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