By: Bob Price
HOUSTON, Texas -- Congressman Ted Poe paid a visit to the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office and Ranchers in Falfurrias today as part of his Texas border fact-finding tour. While Brooks County is a non-border county located more than 80 miles from the Texas-Mexico border, more than 34,000 illegal immigrants have been captured in the county and the remains of fifty-three immigrants have been found.
Poe made the near 100 mile drive from the Rio Grande Valley to Falfurrias to sit down with Brooks County Sheriff Rey Rodriguez and Chief Deputy Benny Martinez. He was briefed on the criminal activity in the area including drug trafficking, gang related crimes and human smuggling. He also learned about the plight of the illegal immigrants who are dropped off in Brooks County south of the Border Patrol checkpoint and often left to die of exposure and dehydration in the desert-like ranch lands in the county.
“As a former criminal court prosecutor and judge, I could tell the Congressman understood our problems,” said Chief Martinez in a phone conversation with Breitbart Texas. “He seemed very sincere about his concerns for both our residents and our deputies who have to deal with these criminals with very limited resources.”
Martinez told this writer that Poe is the first sitting Congressman to actually come to Brooks County and see the problems first-hand. “I would have happily driven to meet with him in The Valley,” Martinez said. “For him to make the effort to drive an hour and a half to sit down in our office personally was very meaningful to us.”
Poe took a lot of notes about the property damages being done by the illegal immigrants marching through the ranches and the other crimes being committed by both immigrants and residents related to drugs and human smuggling. “He asked us about our budgets, manpower and other resources,” Martinez explained. “We also talked about our prior requests for assistance from the federal government.”
Following the meeting in the Sheriff’s Office, Martinez took Poe on a tour of some of the ranches located in the county so he could see exactly what we were dealing with and the problems in our county that are caused by having a federal immigration checkpoint located in the middle of the county.
Martinez estimated that illegal immigrants have caused between $500,000 and $1 million in private property damages this year. Since 2011, over 330 sets of remains or bodies have been found in this county located about 100 miles north of the border.
After the tour, Congressman Poe returned to the Rio Grande Valley for a border security briefing from state and federal officials.