Photos record evidence of trafficking
WESLACO – People living along the Rio Grande River often see illegals crossing the border.
“All of a sudden you see five, ten, sometimes fifteen, twenty people,” says Rosalinda Garza. She’s lived along the river all her life.
She tells us, “They pack them into vans and the vans would just go shoom.”
“One after the other. And then within 15 or 20 minutes, those vehicles were back.”
Like Garza, many are concerned about illegal trafficking.
“There’s danger along the river, especially at night,” says Umberto “Bird” Trevino.
NEWSCHANNEL 5 decided to get a firsthand look at what people living along the river have to deal with.
We placed cameras in the hands of eighty volunteers. They became our border photographers.
Each used their photos to tell a unique story.
Some showed trafficking with their pictures. They included shots of trash bags used by illegals to carry clothes or drugs across the river.
Some photographers found tooth brushes, empty drink containers, more garments, tubes, and even an inflatable boat.
The pictures speak for themselves. Some leave you wondering how illegals avoided capture. Others are surprising in the number of hidden pathways leading to and from the river.
The hustle and bustle along the river might not always be visible. But in our back yards, there are hidden trails, secret paths, and dusty back roads leading to the Rio Grande.
And the people living near the river know how busy it is.
One Roma resident tells us, “I see people coming, asking for water, because they’ve been traveling for miles, days, months.”
NEWSCHANNEL 5 spoke to a pregnant woman who crossed the river in the early hours of the morning. She had her children with her.
She tells us she came to the US for work and to give birth to her child in America.
She was one of a group of 36 caught by Border Patrol. They were discovered on one of the thousands of trails going north out of the Valley.
We found one woman who cut her foot as she made her way through the brush. Crossing the Rio Grande River is a dangerous journey. Illegals die daily when trying to cross.
NEWSCHANNEL 5 spoke to another man who says he always crosses the river. He tells us he needs to find work to provide for his family of eight.
Day travelers cross the river to get something of value and go back. We caught one man taking a large bundle to Mexico. Agents say it could be anything, even money or weapons traveling south.
Regardless of their reasons, the illegal journeys sometimes make US residents feel unprotected.
Rosalinda Garza says people tell her to pick up and move somewhere else.
“But this is our home,” she tells them.