Valley Authorities See Drop in Splash-Downs

Reported by: Polo Sandoval
Last Update: 9:53 pm

MISSION - Valley law enforcement are watching dramatic drop in splash-downs. That's when smugglers will drive into the river hoping to save their loads.

One year ago, a suspected smuggler drowned in the Rio Grande while trying to save a drug load. It's just one of countless splash-downs police were forced to deal with. Criminals were willing to plunge over the riverbank to escape. Not anymore.

"We're actually on the front lines of providing security for this park. We're just more vigilant and more alert. I think there's better communication between state and local law enforcement," says Hidalgo County Precinct 3 Constable Larry Gallardo.

Gallardo's deputies are assigned to protect Anzalduas Park. It was a notorious escape route for criminals. That same region is saturated by deputies and Border Patrol agents now. They're leaving smugglers nowhere to run or hide.

One of the first gates installed at Anzalduas Park shows obvious signs of repeated ramming. Smugglers found a way through the gate, too, so the county turned to a big yellow cast-iron option.

"This is here because we think this will withstand any vehicle coming through. Probably a semi would break through, but I don't think any normal vehicle would stop right there," says Gallardo.

Deputy Constable Santos Alaniz showed how this new gate works. His orders are to seal off the park anytime a pursuit breaks out in Mission. It's the county's first line of defense, a way to block off a smugglers path to freedom.

The gate also is meant to keep a pursuit from making its way onto the park where families often gather. It serves its use at least two times a week. ... cJRxw.cspx