Texas sheriff testifies to record number of bodies recovered in his county

(Center Square)

The US House Committee on Energy and Commerce held its first Joint Office of Investigations and Health Subcommittee field hearing in McAllen, Texas, to examine the ongoing crisis at the southern border.

Brooks County, Texas, Sheriff Benny Martinez testified his deputies found a record number of bodies, costing the county more than $1 million, property damage to residents tens of thousands of dollars, and record numbers of human and drug trafficking occurring. President Joe Biden is in office.

The unique challenges facing his rural county, located 70 miles north of McAllen, are, he said Wednesday, “a national security issue, a public health issue and a humanitarian issue.” And it’s caused by foreign nationals from more than 150 countries who have entered the United States illegally, including through ports of entry to avoid law enforcement, he said.

The subcommittee’s chair, U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Virginia, said the committee convener in Texas “is critical to shining a light on the brutal and unsustainable conditions this president’s administration has created at our border.” No other country in the world manages its borders the way this administration has chosen to do.”

The chair of the full committee, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-WA, said the president’s “open border agenda is putting Americans across the country at risk and turning every city into a border town.”

RELATED: What the invasion looks like: Video shows hundreds of single adults crossing the border calmly, unopposed

Martinez, a Democrat, said that when people drive north from McAllen on Highway 281, they must stop by a Border Patrol checkpoint in Falfurrias, “one of the busiest checkpoints for apprehension of undocumented crossers and drug seizures.”

Martinez, who worked narcotics for DPS for nearly 20 years, said the corridor is a major route for human and drug smuggling. To avoid capture by Border Patrol agents, many illegal aliens led by coyotes (human smugglers) cut ranchers’ fences and trespass on private property to get around checkpoints. If they’re not caught, they’re taken north to a pre-planned location for transportation, “usually in Houston,” he said.

In some cases, “local gang members and other financial gain seekers who live in the county, cut locks and fences and do untold damage to private property to traffic people through ranchland,” he said. “The sad reality is that many don’t survive the journey.”

The land is desolate, barren and desert-like during the summer months when temperatures reach over 100 degrees. Many who travel on foot do not have proper shoes or clothing and do not have enough water or food. They die from dehydration, a snake bite, injuries or natural elements, or are left behind by smugglers for being too slow, he told The Center Square.

RELATED: Tucker Carlson Airs video showing how easy it is for illegal immigrants to enter US, calls on Republicans to let it happen

In August 2021, Martinez testified before a Texas House Appropriations Committee on border security funding, saying Brooks County had “140% increase in dead bodies, 130% increase in 911 calls, 200% increase in rescues.”

Since then, those numbers have grown astronomically. In 2022, his deputies, responsible for covering 943 square miles, found 917 bodies, compared to 119 in 2021 and 34 in 2020, the sheriff’s office told The Center Square. So far this year, they’ve found 12.

He said it cost the county about $1 million to recover and identify the body.

County operations are being affected on a daily basis, including ambulances being pulled from providing assistance to taxpaying residents on calls to remote areas where turnaround times are 4 to 5 hours, he said, “leaving our constituents without emergency medical services . This has put pressure on the local health system.”

Last year, there were 150 EMS calls for illegal aliens and three deaths on the way to the hospital, he said. The fires, caused by illegal immigration, burned 336,208 acres, costing the county’s fire department $75,000 in fuel, equipment breakdowns and related costs, he said.

HALO-Flight, a nonprofit air ambulance service in South Texas, alone cost about $320,000 and only reimbursed $45,000, he said.

Falfurious Checkpoint reported a 100% increase in firearm seizures from 2021 to 2022, he said, “400% increase in checkpoint vehicle arrests, 150% increase in cocaine seizures, 1,743% increase in meth seizures, 175% increase in app gang members, 67% increase in apprehensions of sex offenders. And there was a 220% increase in alien smuggling.”

“We have a lot of cases of sexual harassment happening to these women who are passing through the local farms,” ​​he added.

The Brooks County Sheriff’s Office, which participates in Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star border security mission, engaged in 322 smuggling pursuits and 204 bailouts from March to October 2022, he said. They recovered 181 stolen vehicles and at least 31 firearms, seized more than $500,000 in cash headed to Mexico, recorded $286,000 in personal property damage and charged 179 people with involvement in organized criminal activity.

He said enforcement of current laws could stop the flow and trafficking of fentanyl in the United States. “Everything is OK” to secure the border. DEA, CBP and other agents should be allowed to do their jobs, he said. “Just let them work. They know what they are doing.”

Syndicated with permission from Center Square.