The Rio Grande Valley is surrounded by many different bodies of water and we’ve given you an inside look into the different agencies that come together to keep those waterways safe through our special series ‘The Valley’s Navy.’
Tonight we wrap up our series with a visit to our Cameron County Sheriff.
“This is a newer boat, a better boat so consequently is going to pay off big dividends for the protection of our people,” says Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio.
With a recently acquired brand new $60,000 dollar boat, the sheriff joins forces with the other agencies to patrol our waterways… such as the river, Arroyo, and the bay areas. Today, he brings us out to the Zapata south boat ramp to show us what it is they are out looking for.
“This is one of the places that is commonly used for crossing illegal drugs so we have the boat here so we can patrol back and forth, not too many people patrol this area, and the only way we can get to it is by boat. So this in essence is the main reason why we have our boat here,” says Lucio.
The new boat is equipped with life savers, rope, and a first aid kit. In addition to deterring the illegal smuggling of drugs, the sheriff says their boat helps keep visitors and local fishermen alike safe out in the water.
Despite what looks like calm waters, two dead bodies have turned up and the sheriff’s boat has been the one used to go out and recover.
“And the reason they’re here is because there are illegals crossing and sometimes people don’t know how to swim sometimes they think it’s not very deep or sometimes even if they know how to swim, the under toe may be too strong. We bring this boat out here so they can see that we’re out there patrolling and hopefully we can prevent someone from trying to cross,” says the sheriff.
The sheriff says his agency works with all others. Whether that is DPS, Border Patrol or the US Coast Guard, the sheriff says his mission of keeping Cameron County safe, gets accomplished.
“So we have a unit running back all the time so we feel pretty safe and we encourage people to come out here with their families and their kids to come out and do so,” says Lucio.
DPS is also another agency out patrolling our waterways, especially the Rio Grande. We did contact them but they were not interested in being a part of our series.
If you’d like to watch all of our four part series… ‘The Valley’s Navy’ with the U.S Coast Guard, Texas Parks & Wildlife, Border Patrol you can find them all here on our rgvproud.com