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Rio Grande City Turns Smuggling Path into Bike Trail

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Posted: Jul 30, 2014 6:48 PM

Updated: Jul 30, 2014 6:48 PM

STARR COUNTY - Rio Grande City leaders hope a new bike trail will help curb illegal activity.

Drug and human smugglers used the trail before it was converted into a recreational area.

"The origins of these trails were just that. We would come down here ... you would see the path very cut and defined between the woods and we all knew it was smuggling and human trafficking," Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben Villarreal said.

The new bike trail runs along the Rio Grande, less than a mile from the center of town. The plan is to attract more people and deter smugglers and traffickers.

"I talked to one of the chiefs of Border Patrol and they encouraged it. The idea ... more eyes, more people out there encourages the people doing the illegal stuff to look for other areas," Villarreal said.

Vit Kasper has lived in Rio Grande City for years. Kasper wanted a safe place to ride his bike.

"I like to ride my bike. Here in town I had some issues with stray dogs," he said.

Kasper said he will take precautions when he uses the new bike trail.

"I would definitely take my cell phone with me and possibly go with a group of friends," he said.

Villarreal said security may be in the future of the park.

"Eventually we do want to have some sort of security ... perhaps a bicycle patrol," Villarreal said.

Topics: rio grande city, bike trail, immigration, illegal, smuggling

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