Wild Mustangs Fighting Crime

Trafficking illegal drugs from Mexico into the U.S. recently got a little tougher for smugglers and drug cartels. U.S. Border Patrol Agents have added wild mustangs as their new weapon to tighten the border.

ATVs and trucks had a hard time moving through the thick brush in the 316-mile stretch along the Rio Grande. The area gave easy access for marijuana and other illegal drugs to be smuggled into the country.

So Border Patrol Agents decided to go back in time to the roots of the program and enlist the help of horses. Wild mustangs were chosen because it was the land where they were born and they know the rugged terrain. The horses trust each other and make good teams, patrolling the area in pairs.

Since arriving in July, the horses are credited with seizing a record 930,000 pounds of marijuana and arresting 355 suspects.

“This is a real old-school patrol,” said Supervisory Agent Daniel Milian. “It’s a great resource to have.”

In 1924 when the U.S. Border Patrol began, agents were required to bring their own horse on patrol. The mounted officers looked mostly for whiskey bootleggers and illegal Chinese immigrants. In 1935 horses were phased out in favor of motorized vehicles.

The 11 horses in the program are part of the controversial Bureau of Land Management roundups that capture wild mustangs and feral horses. Most of the animals end up confined in prison-like corrals or sent to slaughterhouses in Mexico or Canada.

The horses enlisted by the U.S. Border Patrol were sent to the Hutchinson Correctional Facility in Kansas where they were broken and trained by qualified inmates. The horses were taught to tolerate loud noises such as gunshots and people. The inmates trained the mustangs for 90 to 120 days.

On a recent patrol a 3-year-old gelding named Cash and his Border Patrol partner Clyde came across smugglers moving drugs from a raft into a car. They chased the vehicle along the bush and narrow roads until it flipped over. That seizure involved 700 pounds of marijuana.


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Photo from randa via flickr.

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William H.
William H.3 years ago

We need to get Idaho to do the thing to find grows and growers.

LMj Sunshine

great info, thank you!

Engele van Zyl
Engele van Zyl3 years ago

These mustangs should get medals for being such "good citizens". Thanks for keeping drug dealers from smuggling their "stuff".

Ana P Martinez
Ana Martinez3 years ago

You see horses are useful after all, yet BLM wants to round them up and send them to their concentration camps!

Justine G.
Justine G.3 years ago

Wild horses should NOT be rounded up in the high numbers they currently are, nor should the roundups be as frequent as they are. But for the horses already in long term holding, I think it's good to use a few that can be humanely tamed in a program like this. As someone else mentioned, they must ensure that none of these horses EVER ends up in a kill pen.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Patricia Mcintyre
Patricia M.3 years ago

Let's also keep an eye pealed that none of these horses in this program are ever sent back to be slaughtered for any reason. If the program ends, then they should offer these fine steeds up for adoption or begin a Wild Mustang Permanet Sanctuary to house all of them and every Mustang instead of slaughtering these only living links to the Old West and the the developing of the World, as well as the Americas....

Patricia Mcintyre
Patricia M.3 years ago

More of these wild mustangs should be put into this program instead of being sent to slaughter which is unforgivable. Mustangs are & always have been the elite of horses, far more intelligent than given credit for and far so in comparison to horses born to domestication... I know this personally from Holly, my beloved mare who I finally put into a permanent sanctuary for the remainder of her life since I am now a senior lady & Holly is more than likely to outlive me.

Let's face it, horses are far more likely to go the mile longer than a car as their lifespan, if kept healthy, is anywhere from 20-40 years. The cost of hay is probably far less expensive, even with the prices rising, than filling up a truck weekly. The natural terrain is the best farrier there is & Mustangs are far better left unshod. Let's face it folks, the Mustang is more practicla than a vehicle and more dependable too. And there are miles and miles of borders to search than just between Mexico & the US, for there is interstate borders also where drug trafficking is prevailent as well...

Yvonne Fast
Yvonne F.3 years ago

Great program! This has so many positives with it. Only the smugglers are the loosers here! Fantastic!

mari s.
mari s.3 years ago

i love horses -- there is so much they're able to do -- either leave them alone to roam freely or if you do employ them, respect them and take care of them properly -- and, when no longer employed for any purpose, either continue taking care of them or send them somewhere where they can be happy and comfortable. I'm opposed to roundups and holding them in corrals, i'm opposed to slaughter and their horrific murder whether for their meat or not, i'm opposed to the lack of respect and consideration they get -- like all animals who are on their own, they've been losing their area to human development and they have less and less space in which to live -- PLEASE, stop and think! They have the right to their lives, they have the right to be comfortable and happy with or without human relationships.