Posted: Nov 13, 2012 9:18 PM
Updated: Nov 13, 2012 11:56 PM
LINN - A rancher in northern Hidalgo County is joining state officials calling on the federal government to add extra resources to secure the border.
Fred Cappadona lives on FM 1017 in Linn. He said the area has become a corridor for illegal activity. The town, he said, has become a funnel for immigrant smuggling.
On Tuesday, it took only a few minutes to prove he was right. Authorities detained a group of illegal immigrants from Guatemala and Honduras. The arrests were made along FM 1017 in Linn.
"They were out here for three days with no food or water," Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Constable Eddie Guerra said.
"We do need to have this area secured. It's not a secure area," Guerra said.
The arrests did not surprise Cappadona. He has lived in the area for 40 years, and illegal immigration is not new to him.
"We don't know if they're friendly or not. We've had incidents in the past where they robbed my father-in-law's house, tore it up. The uncle's house across the street ... tore it all to pieces and robbed it," Cappadona said.
The hazards that come from a steady stream of illegal traffic are also a fact of life for Cappadona's grandsons.
"They could be kidnappers, illegal immigrants from Mexico that come from across the Rio Grande. You're not so sure if they're going to be good or nice, kidnap you or not," Justin Cappadona said.
As the rancher and his grandson spoke with a CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew, a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter hovered to the west.
A few miles from Cappadona's ranch, Hidalgo County Precinct 4 deputy constables looked over the group of illegal immigrants.
The group was being chased by a law enforcement agency. They bailed out and started walking in the brush until their guide left them.
Cappadona pointed to another smugglers' landmark near his property.
"They'll drop off here and they'll hop the fence. They'll come right down this little trail right here and right back here in the brush. They hide and they either way for another pickup or continue on north," he said.
A few minutes later, a man walked past the CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew along the road. The man said he was from El Salvador and was on his way to Houston.
The man said he had gotten separated from his group.
The deputy constables said he would not make it Houston. They alerted Border Patrol agents so they could pick him up.