As the border crisis continues, a smuggling chase over the weekend left destruction in its wake for property owners in Kinney County.

The border county nestled between Del Rio and Eagle Pass—which both have legal ports of entry—has faced unprecedented chaos since the crisis began in 2021. 

Late Saturday, a human smuggler with 12 passengers drove into a privately owned ranch after being pursued by Texas Department of Public Safety officers assigned to patrol the border. 

According to Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith, “With no air assets available, the exact location of the vehicle on the ranch could not be determined immediately.”

“It was later discovered that the cartel operative continued driving cross country for 30 miles into numerous other ranches leaving a path of destruction and costly repairs,” explained Smith. “Within this single smuggling episode, it is estimated that 16 property owners suffered damages to their property in the amount of $150,000.”

The vehicle was eventually located in Real County, and 8 of the 12 occupants were apprehended, although the driver is still at large. 

“This is yet another example of the lawlessness and utter disregard for the safety and property of Texans who live along the border,” said Smith. 

One of the property owners, Pam Schott, told Texas Scorecard that their exterior fence was cut and cattle were let out, but the interior gates were opened and closed behind the vehicle. 

She said that “was pretty odd to me, because a lot of times when they walk through they’ll just leave the gate open and here they’re driving through that cut fence but then they, you know, close the gates and they drive all the way through …  And they drove all the way up to our front gate off of [Highway] 90, cut the lock, and went out from there.”  

She said the driver knew exactly where he was going within the property and put that information down to either excellent GPS coordinates or drone footage of the property. 

In addition to the knowledge of ranch roads, Schott said the driver managed to avoid all of the Texas DPS brush cameras placed on the ranch to track illegal crossers. 

Although this is the first time their ranch has been driven through, Schott said this is far from the first time illegal border crossers have traipsed through their land. 

“We used to see maybe one or two, possibly three [illegal crossers] a year and now we’re just overran,” said Schott. “I couldn’t even tell you how many come through there and the trash that they leave behind. I just don’t understand how anybody thinks this is okay.”

She explained that they’ve lost cattle due to hardware disease, which “occurs after an animal ingests a metallic object that then perforates the wall of the reticulum.” Additionally, they’ve lost cattle due to them eating plastic bags and other trash left on the ranch. 

This incident alone is expected to cost the ranch about $15,000 in fence repairs, but Schott said they’ve spent about $25,000 in repairs in the last year alone. 

They’re cutting huge portions all the way through, even when they’re walking through. They’re doing that, and we’ve already had to pay to replace a lot of interior and exterior fences from them doing that because it weakens the fence and you can’t keep your livestock.

Schott said the majority of people crossing their land are military-aged males.   

“Occasionally they will have a child with them,” she added. “But most of the time it is military-aged men that they’re catching on [our ranch] or that we see going through our places.” 

Since President Joe Biden took office, there have been more than 7 million encounters with illegal aliens along the southwest border. Of those encounters, 4.2 million have been with single adults. 

The population of Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the U.S. after New York City (NYC), is only 3.8 million. 

NYC has a population of 8.3 million; the total number of illegal alien encounters is not far behind. 

Meanwhile, the Biden administration continues to attack Texas’ border security efforts, most recently by filing a lawsuit against Senate Bill 4—a new state law that criminalizes illegal entry into Texas and empowers law enforcement to apprehend and deport illegal aliens. 

Sydnie Henry

A born and bred Texan, Sydnie serves as the Managing Editor for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Patrick Henry College with a B.A. in Government and is utilizing her research and writing skills to spread truth to Texans.