- The Rio Grande Valley is largely farmland, making it an almost necessary route for drug smugglers. The border fence built in the last few years doesn't run through all the farms, and even farmers with the fence worry about their safety while cultivating their crops between the fence and rivers.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
As Texas farmhands prepared this winter to burn stalks of sugarcane for harvest along the Rio Grande, four masked men on ATVs suddenly surrounded the crew members and ordered them to leave.
Farmer Dale Murden has little doubt they were Mexican drug traffickers. "They hide stuff in there," Murden said of the dense sugarcane crops, some as high as 14 feet. "It was very intimidating for my guys. You got men dressed in black, looking like thugs and telling them to get back."
Texas farmers and ranchers say confrontations like these are quietly adding up. This month the Texas Department of Agriculture, going beyond its usual purview that includes school lunches and regulating gas pumps, launched a website publicizing what it calls a worsening situation "threatening the lives of our fellow citizens and jeopardizing our nation's food supply."
For more, see: Texas farmers say drug war making job dangerous