Sheriff: Illegal immigrants in military fatigues spotted on Texas ranches

By WILL PAYNE, IN RAYONDVILLE, TEXAS FOR MAILONLINE

The Sheriff leading the investigation into the brutal slaying of a Border Control Agent by two illegal immigrants has revealed local farmers in his county have reported spotting gangs of armed Mexicans ‘in military fatigues’ marching through their fields.

Sheriff Larry Spence’s department played a key role in catching Ismael Hernandez and Gustavo Tijerina after they allegedly gunned down hero officer Javier Vega Jr. in front of his mother, father, wife and three sons while they were on a family fishing trip.

Since their capture,Fox News reported that the suspects are both Mexican nationals who were in the U.S. illegally and have been deported SIX times between them.

Dangers: Larry Spence, Willacy County Sheriff for 29 years, said the problem is reaching a crisis point. He said: 'Lately we've been having a lot of traffic through the ranches. Smuggling, illegal immigrants, drugs'

Dangers: Larry Spence, Willacy County Sheriff for 29 years, said the problem is reaching a crisis point. He said: ‘Lately we’ve been having a lot of traffic through the ranches. Smuggling, illegal immigrants, drugs’

Gustavo Tijerina, left, and Ismael Hernandez, right, were arrested over the murder of off-duty Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr. on Sunday. It has emerged they had been deported six times before between them

Gustavo Tijerina, left, and Ismael Hernandez, right, were arrested over the murder of off-duty Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr. on Sunday. It has emerged they had been deported six times before between them

Gustavo Tijerina, left, and Ismael Hernandez, right, were arrested over the murder of off-duty Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr. on Sunday. It has emerged they had been deported six times before between them

Spence, who has been Sheriff of Willacy County in south Texas for 29 years, said the problem on the border is reaching a crisis point.

He said ranchers with land 25 miles north of the border have reported groups of men – believed to be illegal immigrants – walking single file, through farm land in military fatigues. Some were armed with rifles.

His stark warning came as a local woman who unwittingly helped Tijerina, 30 and Hernandez, 40, after they killed Javier, said she is now in fear for her life.

Her concerns are indicative of the climate of fear that is creeping into certain parts of the border states because of the increase of illegal activity.

The fugitives banged on her door at midnight on Monday morning, claiming they had been in a fight and looking for help. She let them in and gave them water.

‘There is a definite need for asylum if people are being persecuted but there’s a criminal element behind all of this and we need to open our eyes, we can’t just keep letting everybody in’
– Willacy County Sheriff Larry Spence

She only became suspicious when she saw a police helicopter circling the property. At that point she flagged down a passing Border Patrol Agent and scores of officers took the men into custody.

But now the mother-of-four says she is terrified that the men, believed to have links to the infamous Gulf Cartel, could send criminal associates round to her secluded property to kill her and her family, to stop her from testifying.

Speaking to MailOnline from his office in Raymondville, Sheriff Spence said that while the current political focus at the border had been on the humanitarian crisis posed by tens of thousands of undocumented children arriving alone in the US, an increasing ‘criminal element’ was being ignored.

He said: ‘We are not use to this kind of violence happening in our town. We may have a murder every two or three years, but that would be a bar fight, or a domestic incident, nothing like this.

‘But this is becoming much more prevalent. Lately we’ve been having a lot of traffic through the ranches. Smuggling, illegal immigrants, drugs.

‘About three or four months ago we had an individual who saw people walking through farm property in military fatigues, with backpacks.

‘He went out and asked them, “who are you”, they said “what’s it to you”, he said he owned the property and they said, “well you better get out of here”. Sensibly he left and called us, but by the time we got out there, they were gone.

Warning: Sheriff Spence said: 'There is a definite need for asylum if people are being persecuted but there's a criminal element behind all of this and we need to open our eyes, we can't just keep letting everybody in'

Warning: Sheriff Spence said: ‘There is a definite need for asylum if people are being persecuted but there’s a criminal element behind all of this and we need to open our eyes, we can’t just keep letting everybody in’

Threat: The woman who unwittingly let in and then helped police capture Javier's alleged killers, now says she is scared that the cartels could hurt her or her family. the mother, who did not want to be identified out of fear, said: 'We can't protect the border, so who's going to protect me and my kids?'

Threat: The woman who unwittingly let in and then helped police capture Javier’s alleged killers, now says she is scared that the cartels could hurt her or her family. the mother, who did not want to be identified out of fear, said: ‘We can’t protect the border, so who’s going to protect me and my kids?’

‘We’ve had people say they’ve seen groups going through the fields in single file, with rifles as well.

‘It’s picked up on the road where the incident with Javier Vega took place. It’s a very busy road for illegal immigrants. A couple of weeks ago we had fifty of them in three cars.

‘As soon as we lit them up the doors fly open and they’re off into the brush. You get some back and the next day you get some walking down the highway, but it’s getting more and more frequent and it’s getting more and more dangerous.

‘This concerns not only me here, but the other counties as well. These are not people seeking asylum legitimately, they have criminal intent and they are making money.’

He went on: ‘We as Sheriffs have the trust of the people, especially near the border. If we don’t stop it here, then the problem is going to spread. We need to help come up with a solution.

‘You hear of places already in the United States where cartels have a foothold. We are just trying to do our part. Sheriff’s on the border in New Mexico, Arizona and California are having the same problem.

‘It’s not like it was years ago when people were just looking for a job or something to eat. Now if they ask for something and they don’t get it, some of them will take it’
                                   – Sheriff Spence

‘For several years we’ve been saying, “we’ve got a problem here” but nobody would listen. We have had several incidents and people need to open their eyes, there is some border violence.

‘There is a definite need for asylum if people are being persecuted but there’s a criminal element behind all of this and we need to open our eyes, we can’t just keep letting everybody in.

‘We have always been a compassionate nation, but just recently, there were 1,200 a day coming through. Border Patrol have said we are doing a great job out here, but it is a concern.  I don’t want one of my guys going out on their own and getting hurt.’

And Sheriff Lance has not just experienced Mexicans or Central Americans coming across the border.

He said: ‘In Port Mansfield, we have had Chinese people and Polish people coming in illegally by water. It makes you wonder what is coming through. Maybe we are just scratching the surface.’

Having worked for the FBI and served in the US military in Vietnam, Spence has been an officer of some description for more than four decades.

And he has definitely noticed a sharp upsurge in violence in recent years. He explained: ‘It’s not like it was years ago when people were just looking for a job or something to eat. Now if they ask for something and they don’t get it, some of them will take it.

Read more on this story at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2720066/Were-getting-overrun-danger-increasing-We-need-open-eyes-Sheriff-investigating-murder-Border-Patrol-Agent-claims-armed-illegal-immigrants-military-fatigues-spotted-ranches.html#ixzz3A5oj0wC6
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