Monday, May 17, 2010

No Country for Old Men


As drug cartels clash in border cities, rival traffickers are expanding to a remote stretch along the Texas border.

Brewster County spans more than 6,000 miles miles of rugged terrain. It's the largest county in Texas. Some of it borders Mexico.

The local sheriff is coping with a spike in crime.

Sheriff Ronny Dodson's family has lived here for five generations.

"Pancho Villa had run my great-grandfather and them off. They were trying to hide from him in all these places; everybody was. So they moved into the park," claims Dodson.

That's Big Bend National Park, now part of Sheriff Dodson's territory. We took a drive to see how this historic smuggling corridor is now the latest border hot-spot.

The new breed of drug traffickers reopening the old trails are more brutal and better armed. Two rival cartels now operate there.

"I'm still of the hope that the only people they're killing is themselves," says Dodson.
He hopes smugglers leave the ranchers and residents near the Rio Grande alone.

"The Border patrol's watching this and they're doing a good job of stopping it right here. But just right down the river they're doing it again. They're going across," says the sheriff.

One old bridge leading to Mexico is barricaded because it was shut down in the early 90s. Now some locals want it reopened to promote tourism. But the sheriff and others in law enforcement say it will only turn this a bigger and better staging ground for the smugglers who operate there.

Sheriff Dodson relies on eight deputies to cover the vast county.

"I have a deputy who lives on a ranch right now, that if he called for help, it would be probably an hour and a half to two hours to get to him. He's actually better than the last one I had on a ranch because it would have been a 3 hour drive to get to him," says Dodson.

It's a big county with a small budget - and growing problems.

"As they increase security east and west it's going to funnel it right through here.But we're kind of gearing up for it, dreading it," says Terlingua resident Blair Pittman.

The signs are troubling.

"We're up about 100% on burglaries. They're terrorizing us. They're stealing the guns. They're stealing jewelry," Dodson reports.

The sheriff says he could use a half dozen more deputies.
Sixty-three-year-old deputy Martin Willey was set to retire in 4 days when we met him in the tiny town Terlingua.

"The Sheriff''s 100 miles away in case you need back up, but the locals out here will assist you in any way they can," says Willey.

This story might remind you of that movie "No Country for Old Men". But this sheriff says now more than ever he needs the old men.

"They've forgotten more than some of these young guys will know," he says. "And those are the kind of guys we need back training. We need some of that old man still here."

That experience is critical as this isolated stretch of border braces for more trouble.

(((I thank Frann for this information.)))

Please click HERE for source and video.



  1. I haven't talked with law enforcement out there yet. But I think the only mexicans I saw in Terlingua was at Tivos and they had been in Terlingua for many years. I did see quite a few Border patrol vehicles in Ft Davis especially in one area where something had hapend not that long ago. Making border watching part of the sheriffs duties is just whats in the job when you live on a border town. I think he has alot of help from border patrol in the area as I saw many Border trucks.

    As far as opening the bridge for tourism, I have no problem with it since most illegals can cross with or without the bridge. ( they are gonna do it anyway) If you take a look at that little town on the other side you can see that it isnt any haven for trafficers. (allthough I havent seen it, Ive talked to some locals about the town)

    my opinion about the situation is : Those who are for bigger more controlling government are those who want to take the guns out of the locals hands and give more money to the local government so it can grow and take more responsibility for a problem that I have yet to see.

    Maybe my opinion will change when I get there, but so far I have spoke with a few who live there and they see all this extra enforcement as unneccesary.

  2. Hello OGT. Nice to hear from you, and I hope you are right ... the article was spinned too create concern and fear, and I felt a twinge of it.

  3. Hi back, Everythings fine, been busy, and your post caught my eye since I just bought the DVD "no country for old men"

    lots of stuff comming up and little time yet.

  4. I haven't seen any problems yet. It appears that there are far more deputies than stated though. They seem to be everywhere (to me) I don't have a problem with them though if they stick to what they are supposed to be doing and not giving locals problems for no reason at all. So far most seem friendly and I've never had a problem. The one that just retired will be missed because he is a great guy! When I used to see him I'd ask him how may days left and he'd smile and rattle off the number of days left until he retired. (Sort of like I was when I was a "short timer" in the Army.)

  5. I hope it's not as major a problem as they are making it out to be.

    I still feel called down there, and still want to move, but am concerned about my daughters' safety ... of course, I am concerned about their safety no matter WHERE we are.

  6. there is a little chocolate/candy store north west of the square. That is where I got propositioned by a prostitute when I was 16 going cross country.

    I had no Idea what she was getting at. I thought she just like chocolate dipped cherries allot.


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