Posted: Jul 30, 2014 6:08 PM
Updated: Jul 30, 2014 6:08 PM
WESLACO - Military troops are in the Rio Grande Valley to help patrol the areas between the ports of entry.
The little-know operation has been going on for years. The Marines and Navy sailors, active and reservists, get part of their military training along the border.
"We have had the opportunity to form a bond with Border Patrol as we conduct joint operations over the last few weeks," Cmdr. Todd Turner said.
Soldiers from Fort Bliss came to Laredo in 2012 to work with Border Patrol.
"My soldiers learned a tremendous amount from agents on the ground and in the air," Turner said.
The U.S. Northern Command Joint Task Force is doing operations now. The task force teams up with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
"(The) Joint Task Force North (JTFN) is supporting multiple missions along the southwest border in support of federal law enforcement agencies.
Fostering our relationships with LEAs is a top priority for JTFN. At the request of U.S. Border Patrol, a reserve DOD element is present in the McAllen area providing support to counter drug operations.
JTFN serves as an effects multiplier assisting law enforcement agencies," officials said in a statement.
Officials didn't say exactly what the task force will do.
The task force activities range from surveillance to intelligence gathering.
Last year, troops volunteered to construct roads, along with all required water drainage features and a concrete low-water crossing.
The military men and women are strictly support staff. They are assigned duties based on the law enforcement agency who requested them.